DrumBeat: April 30, 2008

ANALYSIS - Bush drilling plan wouldn't have eased pump prices

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration says the United States would be less addicted to foreign oil and fuel prices would be lower if Congress had only opened up Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

But that claim doesn't reflect the long lead time to develop the refuge's huge oil reserves, which would not be available for several more years and initial volumes would still be small if Congress in 2002 had approved the administration's plan to drill in ANWR, energy experts say.

Canada oil firm probed as hundreds of ducks die

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Hundreds of dead and dying ducks could cost Canada's biggest oil sands producer C$1 million ($990,000) after the migrating waterfowl landed in a pond of oily, toxic sludge in northern Alberta.

Syncrude Canada's operations were under investigation by environmental regulators on Wednesday after as many as 500 birds landed in the waste water, known as a tailings pond, at the Aurora North mine near Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Nigeria oil union says no deal to end Exxon strike

ABUJA (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil failed to reach a deal with a Nigerian oil union on Wednesday to end a seven-day-old strike and talks would reconvene on Thursday while the stoppage continued, union leaders said.

OPEC and Peak Oil

OPEC’s position on the Peak Oil question should be the decisive factor in the ongoing and seemingly inconclusive debate on this issue. OPEC supplies about 42 percent of world petroleum consumption. Unlike all other producers, OPEC members have quotas that are adjusted to insure that total supply and demand are in equilibrium. If non-OPEC production were to reach a plateau or begin to decline, OPEC producers would need to increase production substantially to meet ever-increasing world demand. While OPEC’s claimed proven reserves might be adequate, large investments would need to be made over many years to install the required extraction capacity.

Yet OPEC has been virtually silent on this issue. This cannot be due to lack of interest or expertise: it now has its own research group that produces an annual World Oil Outlook and a Monthly Market Report that are equal to the best produced by any other energy forecasting group. OPEC is certainly aware of the USGS World Petroleum Assessment (2000), and the analyses of these results, as well as ExxonMobil’s projection of a non-OPEC production peak by 2010 and the extensive discussion of petroleum resources in trade journals and the popular press. Thus, the reasons for not publicly engaging in this debate must be found outside the rational business of drilling wells, building pipelines and refineries, and making market forecasts.

USGS/NOAA Abrupt Climate Change: Synthesis and Assessment Report (Executive Summary [PDF])

This report considers progress in understanding four types of abrupt change in the paleoclimatic record that stand out as being so rapid and large in their impact that if they were to recur, they pose clear risks to society in terms of our ability to adapt: (1) rapid change in glaciers, ice sheets and hence sea level; (2) widespread and sustained changes to the hydrologic cycle; (3) abrupt change in the northward flow of warm, salty water in the upper layers of the Atlantic Ocean associated with the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC); and (4) rapid release to the atmosphere of methane trapped in permafrost and on continental margins.

Black gold

It takes millions of years to create and seconds to burn - so why do we continue to use oil when it will soon run out?

Several other articles in this series here

Oil to hit $200 a barrel despite rising supply

Qatar, the resources-rich nation, has added its voice to warnings that the price of oil will hit $200 a barrel despite record levels of production among Gulf countries last month.

Qatar's energy minister, Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah's comments echoed those of Opec's president, Chakib Khelil, who said on Monday that economic factors could drive oil to $200.

Valero Feels Your Pain

Refiners have to buy the oil they refine, so when oil prices rise faster than those of Valero's products, the company's profitability gets pinched. For the quarter, per-barrel margins contracted 8% since the prior quarter. This wasn't the only thing throwing profits out of whack, though. Throughput was also down as a result of various refinery outages, and rising natural gas costs drove expenses higher.

NNPC: Striking Nigeria Exxon Workers Returning To Work

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) workers in Nigeria Wednesday are returning to work after a walkout over issues such as pay, and are close to reaching a final deal to resolve the dispute that has knocked out about 30% of crude oil production in Africa's biggest oil-producing country, an official with the state-owned oil company told Dow Jones Newswires.

BP Says Forties Pipeline Resumes Flowing North Sea Oil

The Forties pipeline has resumed delivering oil from the North Sea to the UK, said a spokesman at BP Plc, the operator of Forties.

Forties, which transports over 700,000 barrels a day of North Sea oil, was shut last Saturday ahead of a two-day Grangemouth refinery strike.

Strikers went back to work on Tuesday.

British summer power, gas supply outlook good

LONDON (Reuters) - The UK should be comfortably supplied with power this summer, despite grid work affecting Scottish electricity generation, with coal providing the bulk of Britain's electricity, National Grid (NG.L: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Wednesday.

Gas supplies should also be comfortable, with more gas expected to come from Norway as its huge Ormen Lange gas field increases production over the year, Alan Smart, the director of energy operations manager at the company told a seminar.

MMS approves use of floating storage system

NEW ORLEANS — The federal agency that handles offshore leases has approved the development of a floating storage facility in the Gulf of Mexico that will allow crude oil to be transported to shore in tankers.

Brazil's state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA will use the ship-shaped facility at its Cascade-Chinook oil and natural gas project located in the Walker Ridge area of the Gulf about 165 miles off Louisiana's shore, the Minerals Management Service said Tuesday.

X Prize: $100 Million for Clean Fuels

The X Prize Foundation made its name handing out $10 million awards for cutting-edge innovation in promising but thinly financed fields of research. But now the Santa Monica (Calif.) foundation is targeting one of the most-crowded contests in technology: the race to discover clean alternatives to fossil fuels.

Quake Smashes Tokyo Electric Power's Profit Grid

HONG KONG - A severe earthquake disrupted the operations of Tokyo Electric Power Co., leading Japan's largest power supplier to report its first loss in 28 years.

"Hypermiling" drives savings as fuel costs soar

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) - As U.S. gasoline prices hit records on almost a daily basis, an increasing number of motorists are following a radical driving technique designed to eke out every last mile from a tank of fuel.

Known as 'hypermiling,' the method can double gas mileage, even in gas-guzzling vehicles that would normally get less than 20 mpg.

Suburbanites Turn Green Yards Into Cash With Minifarms

Rising food prices have yielded a throwback to a more agrarianlike lifestyle in suburbs throughout the nation.

People like Norfolk, Va., resident Sue VanHecke are turning their green gardens into green cash by turning their homes into profitable farms.

During the summer VanHecke made $100 per week from her minifarm.

Iran dumps U.S. dollar for oil trades

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) -- Iran, OPEC's second-largest producer, has stopped conducting oil transactions in U.S. dollars, a top Oil Ministry official said Wednesday, in a concerted attempt to reduce reliance on Washington at a time of tension over Tehran's nuclear program and suspected involvement in Iraq.

Iran has dramatically reduced dependence on the dollar over the past year in the face of increasing U.S. pressure on its financial system and the fall in the value of the American currency.

Oil is priced in dollars on the world market, and the currency's depreciation has concerned producers because it has contributed to rising crude prices and eroded the value of their dollar reserves.

Mexico to reduce oil exports to US in 2008

LOS ANGELES, Apr. 29 -- Mexico will reduce its crude oil exports to the US by an average of 184,000 b/d throughout 2008, a situation that could continue for 2 years longer, reported a Mexican media outlet.

Citing PMI Comercio Internacional, the Petroleos Mexicanos affiliate in charge of marketing, El Universal newspaper said a reduction in US-bound exports for 2008—and possibly until 2010—was due to Mexico's reduced oil output.

FACTBOX - Mexico energy reform debate

(Reuters) - Latest developments as Mexico's ruling conservatives court opposition lawmakers to an energy proposal that would allow more private investment in the state -controlled oil industry in hopes of boosting output.

Mexico's oil industry woes

Comparing the political opposition to Hitler is rarely a good idea. Not only does it trivialize the Nazi leader's evildoing, but it provokes such outrage that whatever controversy was flaring before Hitler was mentioned gets lost in the new furor. That's why it was so disheartening to see the accusation arise in the debate over energy policy that has gripped Mexico. Reforming the state-owned oil company is one of the most important initiatives of President Felipe Calderon's administration, and it's too important to fall victim to stunts from the left and retaliation from the right.

Which is exactly what happened.

For Many, Control of State-Run Pemex Is About National Pride

MEXICO CITY -- Mexico's giant state-run oil company was once a source of universal pride here. Ballads were sung in its honor, and the money gushed as much as the crude.

But the company -- Petróleos Mexicanos, or Pemex -- is not aging well, and it is fast eroding into a creaking, crippled behemoth that even its biggest defenders say must change to survive.

Mexico accepts talks with leftist rebels

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican government agreed on Tuesday to talks with a group of leftist guerrillas who bombed energy pipelines last year, if they agree to swear off future violence.

Untapped oil, overtapped politics

Americans need only look over the border to see a reason for geyserlike spurts in gasoline prices. Mexico, the third-biggest oil exporter to the US, saw crude production fall 7.8 percent over the past year. As in many oil exporting countries, the crux of the problem isn't below ground.

Mexico's state-run oil monopoly, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), badly needs more foreign technical help, especially to drill in waters up to two miles deep in the Gulf of Mexico. But after President Felipe Calderón introduced such a politically explosive reform in April, leftist lawmakers shut down Congress for two weeks until last Friday, citing Pemex as the symbol of nationalist dignity.

Some dignity.

Energy crisis forces Juneau to conserve

JUNEAU, Alaska -- First, there was a run on energy-efficient light bulbs. When those ran out, people began asking for lamp oil. But when they started demanding clothespins in this land of mist and rain, it was clear Alaska's capital city was caught in a serious energy crunch.

"We sold all our clothespins the first day," said Doug White, general manager at Don Abel Building Supplies. "I don't think kids even knew what they were for, but they're learning now."

Power Loan Failed To Pass

Monday's assembly vote in Juneau resulted in a failure to pass a loan that would grant $3-million in emergency funds to the local electric utility. The loan, which failed by one "no" vote, was meant to spread out a huge rate hike to customers over the next 12 months.

Jonathan Anderson, a Juneau Assembly member, disliked the idea. Alaska Electric Light & Power's plan to disperse the costs in the end would raise the total cost of Juneau's energy crisis, he said.

Seven Looming Crises: How to Protect Your Portfolio

Crisis #1 — Oil Could Hit $157 a Barrel

I'm talking even if there isn't a new war or military escalation in the Middle East, terrorist attack on the Saudi oil fields, etc. Even if none of that happens, we could see $157 oil just in the normal course of business.

Natural Gas May Be Viable Way to Battle High Costs at Pump

Most natural gas producers thought T. Boone Pickens brought up a good point last week when he addressed an energy conference here and asked why natural gas was not being used as much for transportation.

Pickens noted that 7 million vehicles worldwide run on the compressed natural gas, known as CNG, and only 150,000 of those are in the United States.

Mac Thornberry: Let's stop dithering on energy production as crisis worsens

Everyone understands supply and demand. In the past year Congress has passed a bill - which I opposed - to raise taxes on energy and to make production of domestic energy resources more expensive. Just this past week another member of Congress announced a plan to make drilling in parts of the Gulf of Mexico off limits.

Wyoming’s air is getting a little thick

Recently, I heard an ozone warning for the first time on Wyoming radio. I grew up in the tiny town of Saratoga and have lived in Wyoming for 27 of my 34 years, and during that time I’ve watched air quality decrease in other places -- like Denver. But I never expected to hear air-quality alerts in Sublette County, Wyo., where hardly anybody lives.

The warning meant that children and the elderly should not go outside and breathe the mountain air; although the radio did not say that, the local newspaper did. The ozone is caused by pollutants emitted from natural gas fields in the area combined with weather conditions and temperature inversions. The warning was repeated three times over the course of 12 days.

To think that this rural region is faced with air-quality issues similar to Los Angeles and Denver is downright sad.

Pakistan: ‘Fuel adjustment not 15, but 100% increase’

KARACHI: While KESC claims that fuel adjustment charges have gone up by a mere 15 percent, the real increase is between 85 and 100 percent, claimed SITE Association of Industries Chairman Nisar Sheikhani, who went on to say that the utility has been claiming fuel adjustment charges since February and has actually recovered the increase in fuel cost from the March utility bills.

Renewable energy an elusive target

Despite the billions of dollars that have been spent on research and development in Asia, Europe and the United States, only 18 percent of the world's electricity was generated by renewable fuels as of 2004, according to the International Energy Agency, an intergovernmental organization based in Paris.

Man accused of cutting power line pleads not guilty

An Orcas Island man who allegedly cut a high-voltage power line with a pole saw and lost his left arm in the process faces 20 years in federal prison if found guilty of attempting to destroy an energy facility.

...Mondragon, his pants burned off by the high voltage that coursed through his body, told sheriff's deputies that his action was "to protest the death of a whale named Luna and the depletion of the rain forests," FBI Special Agent James Powers wrote in the criminal complaint.

Fact check: Ideas offered won't solve energy crisis

WASHINGTON - President Bush put politics ahead of the facts yesterday as he sought to blame Congress for high energy prices, saying foreign suppliers are pumping about all the oil they can and accusing lawmakers of blocking new refineries.

Mr. Bush renewed his call for drilling in an Arctic wildlife refuge, but his own Energy Department has said that would have little impact on gasoline prices.

Scientists call for halt in grain-based biofuel production

Some scientists are calling for a moratorium on using grain-based feedstock to produce biofuel to halt the rise in global food prices. Joachim von Braun, head of the International Food Policy Research Institute, told local journalists after a teleconference that if a biofuel moratorium is issued this year, it would lead to a price decline in corn by about 20 percent and wheat by about 10 percent from 2009 to 2010.

China's oil consumption hits record high in Q1

BEIJING (Xinhua) -- Soaring oil prices have not slowed China's consumption of oil as statistics show that China's apparent consumption of crude oil and refined oil products both hit record highs in the first quarter of the year.

Philippines: Petron re-nationalization a bad idea, says watchdog head

Re-nationalization of oil refiner and retailer Petron Corp. may be one of the worst calls the government can make, considering the importance of oil to the local economy, said Raul Concepcion, a business magnate who heads the private watchdog group Consumer and Oil Price Watch.

The government has no business running an oil refinery by itself, he said at a news briefing. “The government doesn’t have the know-how and it doesn’t have the cash,” he said. “We always need to have sure supply, no matter what. The worst possible consequence is for us to have no more refinery here, if that [re-nationalization] happens.”

Scientists prepare for trials to access 'unrecoverable' oil deposits

SCIENTISTS aim to ease the world energy crisis using microbes to unlock previously unrecoverable oil deposits.

British and Canadian scientists expect to begin trials next month to find out whether microbes can unlock the vast amount of energy trapped in the world's oil deposits.

Bangladesh urged to tap coal before gas runs out

DHAKA (Reuters) - Experts from home and abroad asked Bangladesh on Wednesday to mine its huge coal reserves before its fast depleting natural gas reserves run out.

Indonesia: Domestic coal consumption to exceed exports

Domestic coal consumption would exceed coal exports, sometime between 2015 and 2020, if the government cap on coal exports remains in place, an association said Tuesday.

Indonesian Coal Mining Association president Jeffrey Mulyono said domestic coal demand would jump to 75 million tons in 2009, from this year's 52 million tons.

India’s growth versus environment

American resident is responsible for about six times more greenhouse gas emissions than the Chinese, and as much as 18 times more than the average Indian. So applying the principle of ‘You broke it, you fix it’, the developed nations have to take responsibility for the ‘broken’ atmosphere. The richer nations are better able than less well-off nations to absorb the costs of fixing the problem without causing serious harm to their populations. The developing nations, meanwhile, should have the right to proceed with industrialisation and development, unhampered by limits on their greenhouse gas emissions.

Nuclear may lose green tag if fuel costs rise

Environmental costs of nuclear power are likely to increase as high-grade uranium becomes harder to find, according to new research that has been challenged by the uranium industry.

The findings form part of the debate over what part nuclear power will play in supplying future energy needs.

Fanning wind power capacity

CHINA is looking to expand wind power generating capacity to 100,000 megawatts by 2020, or fivefold the previous target, an industry official said.

Oil and states don't mix

Prospective presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and John McCain want to scrap the U.S. federal gasoline tax this summer to help U.S. drivers (Barack Obama doesn't). Ms. Clinton also wants a windfall tax on Big Oil (a suggestion that will receive a boost when those companies shortly announce further "obscene" profits). Recently, Stephen Harper declared that he might play the "oil card" if Messrs. Clinton and Obama reopen NAFTA. In Moscow, Caracas and Tehran, authoritarian leaders are using oil as a prop or a threat. In a dozen countries, from Iraq to Nigeria, oil is fuelling civil strife.

Déjà Vu: The Fed's Interest Rate Dilemma

The good news is we've been here before, and we know – well, at least 1980s Fed Chairman Paul Volcker knows – how to get out of this mess. Loose money in the 1960s and 1970s drove up the price of everything. A barrel of oil, which sold for $2.92 in 1965, rose to $40 in 1980. Most people believed that rising commodity prices indicated that the world was running out of resources. The Club of Rome predicted global ruin, and then President Jimmy Carter said that "peak oil" was right around the corner.

Gasoline costs force service firms to raise prices

Small companies such as pet sitters and housecleaners are finding it necessary to pass on some of the rising expense to customers as well as to cut back on driving.

Threat of fuel protests returns as cost of petrol hits £5 a gallon

Ministers are preparing for a fresh confrontation with the road haulage industry as the £5 gallon of petrol became a reality at the pumps yesterday.

Fuel protests returned as hauliers demanded help from oil companies and the Treasury, which is raking in huge surpluses from record petrol prices. The cost of filling an average car could reach £84 next year, one consumer body will say today. Air passengers are also being hit as British Airways announced that it was slapping new fuel surcharges on all tickets from Friday to offset the escalating cost of fuel. Long-haul passengers can expect an extra £30 surcharge.

Flying into trouble

The sky-high cost of fuel means that airlines are going out of business - sooner than environmentalists predicted. What does it mean?

British Airways is big loser as public stay grounded

Nearly half the British public have vowed to fly less in the coming year to help the environment, according to a new survey that will alarm airlines struggling with record fuel prices and the fallout from the credit crunch.

An exclusive poll for The Times shows that 46 per cent of consumers have pledged to cut air travel while 23per cent will fly only with those airlines that have a clear green strategy.

Hurrah! Oil profits are up

Hurrah for big oil profits. Seven million dollars an hour for BP and Shell, as the cost of jet kerosene bankrupts airlines and dear diesel puts up the price of just about everything from corn flakes to cucumbers. The cheer is not ironic; we should celebrate these gazillion- dollar profits because our world is now in deep trouble and without the grotesquely inflated earnings of the oil multinationals, we should be even deeper in the mire.

We will never have cheap oil again

When this wave of higher oil prices subsides, is it going to be business as usual? After the oil shocks of the 1970s and early 1980s, the oil price came back down and we went pretty much back to our bad old ways.

But this time it feels different.

ExxonMobil row masks true green dilemma

Yet underlying the protest from the trust fund Rockers is a big problem for oil companies - their ever-increasing reliance on the support of governments and regulators.

Exxon's riposte to the climate change and peak oil lobbies is that technology rather than regulation will provide answers to our energy problems.

It is a disingenuous argument because the energy industry is at the governments' knees begging for help - big dollops of taxpayer cash to build experimental power stations.

Pickens sends landowners letters

A select number of property owners from Childress to Jacksboro learned this week that T. Boone Pickens would like to do a little business with them.

The man who has made billions in gas, oil and hedge funds has an ambitious plan to build a combination water pipeline and electric transmission line from Roberts County in the Panhandle to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Landowners along the proposed route got notification that Pickens’ company is interested in buying right-of-way from them — or seizing it through the law of eminent domain.

The Politics of Gas Prices: Comprehensive Energy Policy Needed

Nothing sheds light on the state of US politics more so than do high gasoline prices. So far, McCain and Clinton both come out in favor of a "gas tax holiday", although one must give McCain his due as the originator of this brainstorm. Clinton goes further and wants to enact windfall profit taxes on big oil. Both are big big mistakes. Obama, to his credit, has so far not joined in the populist rhetoric that Americans seem to just eat up like apple pie. However, Obama has still not taken me up on my offer to fly (at my own expense) to any place of his choosing for an hour presentation on peak oil so he can craft a real energy policy.

OPEC might hold extraordinary meeting over prices: Kuwait

KUWAIT - OPEC might hold an extraordinary meeting over skyrocketing oil prices, Kuwaiti Oil Minister Mohammad al-Olaim said on Wednesday.

"If there is any requirement for a meeting, we will not hesitate to meet," Olaim said.

Indonesia may tender to sell crude oil

JAKARTA, April 30 (Reuters) - Indonesia may tender to sell crude oil that is piling up in storage in many production areas either because of bad weather or lack of tankers, energy watchdog officials said on Wednesday.

BPMIGAS marketing chief Budi Indianto told Reuters the total amount was estimated at around 13 million barrels and was spread across various locations in the sprawling archipelago.

Players turns on North Sea taps

Operators in the UK North Sea have started turning the taps back on from North Sea fields after the restart of the Forties pipeline and expect to reach full rates later today.

Mekong nations to form OPEC-style rice cartel - Thai PM

BANGKOK (Thomson Financial) - Thailand has agreed in principle to form a rice price-fixing cartel with Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia as costs of the staple grain surge, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Wednesday.

The grouping of Mekong nations would be similar to the oil cartel OPEC, and would be called the Organisation of Rice Exporting Countries (OREC).

Environmental activist delivers impassioned plea at Caribbean tourism conference

According to Suzuki, “Island people, better than most, understand limits, and that resources are finite. Looming ahead for the entire world is the great crisis of our economy, peak oil, the moment when available oil supplies are all known and being exploited so that supplies will inexorably fall.

“The twin crises of ecological degradation and falling oil supplies will have massive repercussions for all countries, but none more so than those of the Caribbean and especially the tourism industry” said Suzuki.

Global warming expert raises concerns for tourism industry

BANGKOK (AFP) - Nobel Peace Prize recipient Rajendra Pachauri Tuesday warned tourism industry chiefs they need to reduce their impact on climate change as consumers become more environmentally aware.

"The tourism industry, for its own sake, will have to adapt," Pachauri said to more than 200 Asia Pacific airline, hotel and tourist company chief executives at a conference on tourism and climate change.

Drink wine and save Mother Earth

OSLO (AFP) - Norwegians will soon be able to help save the planet from global warming by savouring a glass of Bordeaux, a wine importer said on Tuesday.

For every bag-in-box of Chateau Le Cluzeau 2006 sold in Norway the importer Bevco will buy carbon credits compensating for 18 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

That is almost six times the estimated amount of CO2 emitted in the production and transport of one bag-in-box.

OECD ministers plead for environment despite economic concerns

PARIS (AFP) - OECD environment ministers on Tuesday stood by efforts to tackle climate change, despite arguments in some quarters that at a time of economic uncertainty, spending on green issues could damage competitiveness.

Judge orders federal government to decide polar bear listing

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - A federal judge has ordered the Interior Department to decide within 16 days whether polar bears should be listed as a threatened species because of global warming.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken agreed with conservation groups that the department missed a Jan. 9 deadline for a decision. She rejected a government request for a further delay and ordered it to act by May 15.

Higher energy costs from climate bills

WASHINGTON - People will be paying higher energy prices under a Senate bill to limit greenhouse gases, but how much will depend on how well the country can shift away from burning fossil fuels, an Energy Department analysis said Tuesday.

The Energy Information Administration said annual energy costs could increase on average of as little as $30 or as much as 10 times that much by 2020. The projected cost increases per household ranged from $76 a year more to as much as $723 a year more by 2030.

DC Metro Extension to Tyson's Corner and Dulles Resurrected

After intense political pressure (and outrage from area residents, Sen. Warner R-VA was reported to be "bright red" upon learning of the cancellation), this oil saving project is supposed to have it's 18% federal funding restored.

Previously killed weeks before the start of construction, new delays to restart (my guess) will add a year.


Best Hopes for 268 more days,


The initial phases that they were going to be working on involved relocation of utilities to get them out of the way. And given that I live in the area where all of this is supposed to take place, I can tell you that there has been an extraordinary amount of utility work going on in the past few months. Since I thought the project was dead, I didn't give it a whole lot of thought, so I need to dig some more and see if this work is related to the Metro in any way.

Right near where I live they have a former Cadillac/Hummer dealer. The cars are gone, and they are selling furniture out of the building. I was hoping they would tear down the Hummer dealer (I would have taken a photo and sent it to fuh2.com), but this is almost as good. My understanding is that this business is a placeholder using the old buildings until the plans are completed for whatever it is that is supposed to replace this. The ultimate fate of this site also depended on the Metro expansion.

Yes, the "April 2008" update has this:


which suggests that the utility relocation work has been proceeding all along, as planned.

Who is going to buy furniture? With walk-aways, foreclosures, etc. of which we have only really seen the beginning, with Alt-A (or whatever they are called) resets coming up, not to mention other credit crunches (cards, cars, etc.) and the high and rising cost of gas?

Ah..light dawns...in smaller homes, and with doubling up, not to mention the costs of moving furniture, new and different furniture is needed...Maybe it’s not so dumb after all. ;)

Best hopes for more modest life styles,

Noizette (copying Alan)

Dunno. Don't care who does or doesn't buy the furniture, really. I just want a picture of them ripping down the Hummer building :-).

The credit crunch and real estate mess is still very localized in the DC area. The inner suburbs are still doing fine in terms of real estate - many of them were bought before the funny loans came to exist. In some neighborhoods, they report that prices are still increasing, and foreclosures are still rather rare.

Go out 10 miles or so, and you are really in the exurbs with no mass transit at all. That's where you find new subdevelopments that were thrown up more recently, and when the funny loans and the crazy valuations. That's where there is a lot more foreclosure activity.

Where we are in Tysons, it is kind of inbetween. I am not aware of many foreclosures (there could be some, but I don't pay close attention). To be honest, one of the problems in Tysons is a general lack of housing. It is mostly office and retail, which leads to the horrible traffic that they are trying to partially correct with Metro.

I just want a picture of them ripping down the Hummer building :-).

On 3 freeway trips I saw:
1) Sign saying 'this bank and this location will be a Hummer Dealership
2) A building was there with the H and all that.
3) A demo crane and a mostly flat building.

yes, hummer being ripped...niiiice. thanks for the other info.

I bought decent furniture ONCE, never again. Furniture for me now is the cheapest junk, used, milk crates, etc I can get away with. In the US, one has to assume they're going to be cleaned out, lucky to have the shirt on their back, every decade or so. Just like in the old Dickens novels - in fact Dickens was probably a time-traveler who came to our time, and wrote back in his trying to warn people of the evils of predatory capitalism.... etc etc etc anyway....

I had to give away the last good furniture I had, which was also the first good furniture I had. Someone at an antique store told me: "I remember in the Great Depression, all the furniture out on the street".

So yeah, Who buys furniture in a Depression? It is to be looked at only as firewood. Perhaps to build a bonfire to burn its wealthy owners on, if we are lucky!

But in a Depression, there are always people willing to try some business, desperate, willing to try anything that might bring in a few dollars to feed their family. They may have the old Hummer dealership rent-free, just to have someone in there.


Have you ever seen this blog?


This particular post does a nice job at looking at potential mass transit solutions for the DC area.


As a proof of concept that US Cities could be "rail saturated" with projects that would be worth doing with oil at $30/barrel, I worked with Ed Tennyson and another friend. on Washington DC, Los Angeles and New Orleans.

The results from DC are 15 new lines (3 proposed lines rejected as not viable) at $30/barrel) with first year ridership on the new lines would be 80% of DC Metro in 2004 and DC Metro (existing lines) ridership up 10+%.

Later TOD would substantially increase those ridership #s.

Most of the increase would be in the suburbs around DC, but market share for DC would also increase (perhaps 60% to 65% of DC commuters with oil @ $30/barrel).

Our lines chosen were different than those shown (in part). Ed Tennyson's last major job was estimating ridership of the 103 mile DC Metro system when completed before the first line opened. He was off by 3%.

Most interesting was a "Rose" Metro Line splitting the Red Line at Bethesda, down to Georgetown and then west north of existing line to Union Station (hitting Dupont and another circle). Two Red/Rose services, Glenmont to Bethesda and Shady Grove to Union Station. Shuttle between Orange Line and Rose line with a stop in Georgetown.

Also extending Purple line Light Rail from Bethesda to Tyson's Corner.

With oil at $116/barrel, the number of viable lines increases.

Best Hopes for Urban Rail,


The results from DC are 15 new lines (3 proposed lines rejected as not viable) at $30/barrel) with first year ridership on the new lines would be 80% of DC Metro in 2004 and DC Metro (existing lines) ridership up 10+%.

Alan, when you mention 15 new lines is your thinking metro style rail, or street tram type rail, or a combination?


From memory (without checking my notes somewhere ...)

2 long streetcar lines in DC proper. Metro feeders as well as cross-town surface transit at slower speeds.

Improved commuter rail (electrified, faster) to Virginia all the way to Richmond.

Extend Silver Line Metro past Dulles to Leesburg, to pick up more suburbs and the mentioned "Rose" Line, splitting the Red Line into two overlapping halves.

And the rest Light Rail. Tysons' Corner would have Metro Silver going through and 3 Light Rail lines terminating there (Purple from Bethesda MD, Another to Pentagon and 3rd along "VA Turnpike or such" that is unclear in my memory). Bethesda would have existing Red Line, start of Rose Line and Purple Light Rail going through).

Hope that Helps,


Very cool Alan. I think by "VA Turnpike" you may be thinking of Little River Turnpike, which is Route7, it runs from Old Town Alexandria to Tysons Corner.

The 3 trillion shopping spree site has an option to Build a National High Speed Rail System, which might be flanked by some other offers (one can propose.) The ppl who bought it also bought 'finishing repairing Katrina damage' as well as 'end dependence on foreign oil' - quite.

OK, that is publicity / awareness, it does count:


I just finished my first AMTRAK trip, and I would like to start promoting a simple step to improve its efficiency. Make the line (The Coast Starlight) more bicycle friendly. On local lines, AMTRAK has convenient bike racks, but not on any long distance lines. And from my local stop, Dunsmuir, Ca., I can't even ship a bicycle in a box, because that station doesn't check baggage. Ideally, I could have ridden my bike the 10 miles to the station, then I could have been nearly car free for my week in Southern California.

Other than that, how was the trip? In two weeks I am taking the California Zephyr from Denver to San Francisco (Emeryville).

20 years ago I did the trip in reverse. The Sierras and Glenwood Canyon were quite awesome to view from the train. If you're riding coach, I suggest earplugs and eyeshades and loose comfortable clothes for the overnight. A small bottle of your favorite distilled beverage is also recommended, as are a good collection of snacks and a canteen.

I'd love to travel by train. I'd love to be able to get a ride to the town of Drake, not that far north of here, and take a train from there out to Los Angeles, Orange County, somewhere in there. Instead, it's not possible, and traveling by Amtrak is expensive! And I refuse to fly.

Oh well view's good from a motorcycle too.

Nice, but too long. It takes nearly twice as long as driving, and about three times as long as flying, including getting to the departure point and waiting time. The top speed is less than freeway auto speeds, and it often had to slow down or stop to accommodate other traffic on a single track. The conductor's instructions were confusing at the Oakland stop. What he meant to say was that this was a quick on-off stop, and you couldn't get off to smoke. What one large family heard was that we weren't at their scheduled departure point quite yet. They ended up having to get off at Emeryville. I think it worked out OK, because they needed to catch the BART, which stops at both places.
Price was about one third the cost of flying, and about on fifth the full per mile cost of driving a SOV, for a 600 mile trip.
I didn't realize there were fold out seat extensions to make sleeping easier, until the trip was almost over.

Alan, what were the results of your work on Los Angeles? Or where can I find them?

In my files. Prepared by the "Father of the Expo Line" Darryl Clark.

I wanted to confirm that it was indeed possible to build a large enough rail system to be cohesive (a certain fraction of the population could live car-free) in 3 very different US cities. Only lines that could be justified with the then current price of oil were considered.

I did not want to advocate something that was impossible or unreasonable. I was as much for me as for general interets.

Remind me next week (less busy I hope) and I will try and look it up.

Best Hopes for more Urban Rail,


Alan this is why although I'm a socal native, I long to be back in the SF area. I've been car-free in Socal, and it was a lot of fun, but the best car-free living I've seen has been up in the Sf area.

SoCal always seemed like the antithesis of fun car-free living, but then I grew up in the Rust Belt and moved to New England. What's your secret?

I liked the part about a circumferential line connecting outer areas with each other, there are many commuters that have to go from one outlying stop to another through a hub station like metro center to go to work. A Metro beltway line that connects the outlying areas would be great.

Circumferential lines are often the final step after about 8 lines (4 lines the go completely through the city center E-W, N-S, SW-NE, etc. or two lines that "Y" usually) are built out from the city center.

The Purple Line extended to Tysons Corner with provide a half circle around DC (perhaps 210 degrees).

An interesting story was that Stalin looked over Moscow subway plans and placed his coffee saucer (which he had slightly over filled) in the center of the map.



Maybe I won't sell my Herndon house after all....

With the airline industry beginning its death throes, isn't this a rail line to nowhere? Wouldn't the money be better spent city-to-city?

There are two phases, the first phase builds out through tysons corner and to reston.

Phase two goes through reston, herndon and to dulles airport.

I think phase one is very important as it will get alot of people off the road.

Phase two I concede is probably less necessary if we accept that the airline industry is on its last leg.

Or maybe not to nowhere. Dulles serves the District, the seat of the Federal Government. If necessary, you and I will be shivering in the dark, passing out from the heat, and bicycling in dangerous weather, just to conserve energy for higher Federal officials and their contractors to fly here, there, and everywhere at the most frivolous drop of a hat, just as they do now. If you don't think so, look at what happens even now in poor countries all across the world - for government officials, it's high-end business-as-usual now and forever.

Yu've nailed it. If need be, the USAF will buy the airplanes of the bankrupt airlines at auction and fly them around on a charter basis for FedGov officials as needed.

Good point! Just like in the old USSR, how many commoners do you think got to fly?

Actually, what I heard was that flights in the USSR were accessibly cheap. A little hair-raising, with people taking goats as carry-ons (at least in the sticks), but cheap.

International flights, even if fewer, (or more likely smaller planes like 787s) will be a priority user of remaining oil for quite some time IMHO.

And trains have low market share for more than about 500 miles, even in Japan and the EU with much better and faster trains. Hawaii, Californians, etc. will still be traveling to DC as long as it is the national capital.

IMVHO, shrinking air travel will reduce the need for multiple airports. Keep Dulles with Metro access (and long runways) and develop Reagan National Airport as a very walkable, bikeable mixed community across the river from DC.


Decommissioned runways would make excellent sites for PV or CSP arrays. Decommissioned airports might also be good locations to up up wind farms.

The airline industry is not in death throes, imho - world. Airlines will have to raise prices somewhat and may loose some customers, but that is it (some shrinkage, consolidation, etc.)

The rich will fly more than ever and will pay anything; the upper and middle lot may cut down a bit, etc.

Air travel in Europe is price competitive with other means of transport on many routes, short or long - tax on gas, car tax, and autoroute (highway) payment, parking costs, not to mention the hassle of driving and work hours lost. Train costs are high for the occasional, individual, traveller. Some itineraries can only be done by plane (the US is overall flat-ish and has roads everywhere.)

Partly, it is because airlines don’t pay tax on aviation fuel, though efforts to change that are long standing, and are ramping up, and the whole issue is horribly complicated, and varies from place to place, there are special taxes here and there. The details which I don't know would take a dedicated expert to sum them up.

Salon has an article: What's the problem with U.S. airlines? The low-price paradox.


GWB Administration takes back with left hand what it gives with right hand

WMATA (DC Metro) must get funding for $489 million in backlog repairs (they are actively repairing when I was there a month ago) to get $900 million in funding for new line.

I am unaware of any road project refused federal funding until the city or state gets all existing roads up to 100% maintenance. Just a special rule for Urban Rail they just made up.

They also must guarantee that there will be no cost overruns. One thinks of the Big Dig and other road projects...


the FTA was so adamant in declaring the project unfit in January was to meet a deadline request made by Virginia to make a decision by Feb. 1 [contract signed to build]...And the scheduled 2012 completion date for Phase I, which would extend the new Silver Line from the East Falls Church Metro station in Arlington to Wiehle Avenue in Reston, probably would be moved back at least a year

As I feared. So the economic stimulus is delayed.

I wonder what the price of oil will be in 2014 vs. 2012.

Best Hopes for 267 more days,


""Many people expend a lot of energy protesting against their irresponsible, unresponsive government. It seems like a terrible waste of time, considering how ineffectual their protests are. Is it enough of a consolation for them to be able to read about their efforts in the foreign press? I think that they would feel better if they tuned out the politicians, the way the politicians tune them out. It's as easy as turning off the television set. If they try it, they will probably observe that nothing about their lives has changed, nothing at all, except maybe their mood has improved. They might also find that they have more time and energy to devote to more important things.""

Dmitry Orlov wrote this in his excellent article "Closing the Collapse Gap." I am sure some of you have read it already, but as the 'campaign' heats up, I hope most of you remember it. I doubt I will ever vote for a Demonrat or Reptilican again.


If this theory made any sense at all, we could expect happier people and better living conditions in countries with an apathetic and uninvolved populace.
Of course the opposite is true, those countries with functional, vibrant democracies (Euro social-welfare states, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, etc.) have high quality of life and rate higher on the happiness index.

Meanwhile, Russia and the Former Soviet Republics seem to have followed Orlov's advice, with predictable results, massive corruption and cynicism, plummeting life expectancies, crushing economic inequality,etc.. There is a "free-rider" problem, in that some percentage of the population can follow this cynical and selfish advice and still benefit from the civic-minded, altruistic efforts of involved citizens. At some breaking point, if a large enough percentage of the public retreats into apathy, then the "free-riders" can drag a society down.
"‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing.’"Edmund Burke figured it out a while ago.

Higher quality of life maybe, but I dunno about happiness. There was that study awhile back that found Nigerians were the happiest people on earth. I wouldn't consider Nigeria an example of a functional, vibrant democracy.

Happiness ratings are pretty scattered around, depending on the study, but in this study the top 15 countries are all
social democracies (followed by filthy rich oil-exporters, and then more social democracies).

"Blessed are those with low expectations, for they shall not be disappointed."

I fail to see the link between ignoring politicians and an apathetic, cynical population. I am sure Mr. Orlov is not apathetic, or he wouldn't be writing such excellent articles with the obvious intent of educating people. There are many ways to 'politic' and I think ignoring the corporate shills is good advice. I personally believe that the best way for an average person to influence the PTB is to watch where every dollar is spent. For example, if you don't like Exxon, then don't buy gas there or at their subsidiaries.

The flip side is that worrying about, or paying attention to, politicians can increase your apathy. It is like someone keeps promising to cut your lawn but they never actually do, so the solution is to vote for somebody else who has a better spin. IMHO, the whole point of the USA as opposed to other first world countries is that you are basically on your own with your gang. Nobody is driving the USA bus and nobody is going to be driving it-all the important people are looking out for their slice. OTOH the correlation between any individual's personal success or happiness and the future of the USA isn't that high so realistically politics is like the WWF-for entertainment purposes only IMO.

When political action makes the difference between a humble but sufficient life on Social Security and eating dogfood and sleeping on a grate, maybe the "correlation between any individual's personal success or happiness and the future of the USA" might become clear.
Political action is inherently frustrating and full of compromise, but we all are heirs of the altruistic efforts of generations before us, from 19 year olds who sacrificed their lives to stop Hitler to civil rights volunteers gunned down in Missisipi to Nelson Mandela imprioned for decades.
Political action exists on spectrum from county commisioners to presidents, but in my opinion those who take the benefits of democracy while too lazy or apathetic to participate are parasites, no matter what their motivation.

Compared to any other first world nation, the USA is a society of "parasites" as you label it-you can spend the rest of your life trying to turn the USA into Japan or Sweden or Germany but a minority of your fellow citizens are interested in helping you. Why not emigrate to a society that shares your political beliefs?(because the USA definitely is not that society).

BrianT a good number of us want to leave the US if we can. That's the crucial part: If we can. It takes a LOT of money. And we understand exactly what you are saying - we're considered Un-American for our beliefs and knowledge; an insult today that may become a sentence tomorrow.

And the similarities between the US and USSR we're seeing are probably no coincidence. Both are/were Empires, whereas the social-welfare states of Europe in the latter half of the 20th century to today, never had Imperial ambitions.

leave the US if we can. That's the crucial part: If we can. It takes a LOT of money.

Do keep in mind that during the Clinton years the tax law changed - I believe the government gets 50% of what you take out of the nation.

Nah, they just keep collecting taxes after you leave. You have to be in the 50% of the income distribution for America, or in the upper 1% of the wealth distribution.
The problem is, the other countries don't want you unless you are in the upper 50% of the income distribution or the upper 1% of the wealth distribution.

Keep in mind that an angry mob might not understand the difference between a good American, a bad American, or a former American.

Fulfilling one's civic duties is one thing. Participating in a meaningless (and probably rigged) national election is another. Ask yourself whether you really believe that the outcome of the next US presidential election will really make a difference in the direction of the country? Like it or not, America's fate will be determined by the Ditto Heads.

Ask yourself whether you really believe that the outcome of the next US presidential election will really make a difference in the direction of the country?

When I ask myself if President Bush really made a difference in the direction of the country versus what a President Gore would have done, the only realistic answer for me is "YES".
I don't even see how anyone could argue in a realistic way that a President Gore would have made no difference relative to President Bush, but this is the internet, so any arguement that can be made will be made, no matter how far-fetched.

Lets look at two ongoing events in the year 2000. The war--by now labeled genocide by high ranking members of the UN--against the Iraqi people was 9 years-old, and the ongoing economic war against Iran was 20 years-old. Both were escalated by Clinton/Gore, and then incresingly escalated by Bush/Cheney, with the active support of the Democrats.

Another point. The Gini coefficeient which measures income inequality was already being moved toward greater inequality by Clinton/Gore and furthered along by Bush/Cheney with no resistence offered by the Democraats.

There are other examples that would provide additional evidence that conditions today would not be much different had Gore actually stood up. The history of the dominant class/power structure is one of continuum in its overall policy direction since 1944, with an occasional bone thrown to the masses and assassination to avoid revolution until the propaganda system charged with manufacturing consent had enough time to work its magic.

Maybe you have a different definition of apathy than the dictionary
"lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting."

"Voting your dollars in the marketplace" is the ideology of the neo-cons, of course, because those with the most dollars also have the most votes. How would "voting with dollars" ever have ended segregation, enacted pollution control legislation, provided Social Security/Medicare/Medicaid/social safety net (frayed as it is),etc.?

The "democracy of the marketplace" is no democracy at all.

For example, if you don't like Exxon, then don't buy gas there or at their subsidiaries.

This sort of personal boycott has absolutely no effect on the target company. Personal behavior, such as spending patterns, only has an effect if it is part of a large social trend. Even so, there is no real connection between buying at a local Exxon station and Exxon's profits, given the fungibility of oil and its refined products. Exxon refineries may indirectly sell gasoline to other brand names, and vice-versa.

This sort of personal boycott has absolutely no effect on the target company.

Perhaps but what sort of effect does it have on you? if you can't live by your own ideology why do you expect other people to do so. You can justify it as much as you like but it's "Do as I say not as I do" The foundation for American Realpoilitk

... those countries with functional, vibrant democracies (Euro social-welfare states, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, etc.) have high quality of life and rate higher on the happiness index.

Well, first of all, as Leanan pointed out, others too, a happiness index is dodgy.

Second, the argument mixes up cause with effect. Many have argued that democracy only takes hold or can be adopted when societies are somewhat stable and economically 'viable'. The argument goes, poor hell-holes need strong armed dictators.

Correlation is not causation - democracy, as hyped here, may simply be an outcome of acceptable living standards and shared cultural values. (I only report, don’t believe it myself.)

Third, what is democracy? No definition is ever given. Its a bit like a tag for the initiated in some classification... Israel is supposedly a democracy (..), the US (some would say, a corrupt Republic, very much like Rome, to exaggerate a bit) is the often cited as the epitome, Iraq is supposed to become democratic, and Palestine is not democratic because it elected Hamas, etc. etc. I mention these examples because they may speak to ppl. There are plenty of others about (Zimbawe, Ukraine, France..)

So no correlation can be touted. The terms - democracy and happiness - cannot be defined. It is all Orwellian chat.

Pointed to stigmatizing some countries, encouraging ethnic hate, and legitimizing the new colonial wars.

For energy.

/end rant/

India is often brought up as a very well functioning democracy. Having a plurality in the middle class wouldn't seem to be a necessary condition.

"Its a bit like a tag for the initiated in some classification... Israel is supposedly a democracy (..), the US (some would say, a corrupt Republic, very much like Rome, to exaggerate a bit) is the often cited as the epitome, Iraq is supposed to become democratic, and Palestine is not democratic because it elected Hamas, etc. etc. I mention these examples because they may speak to ppl. There are plenty of others about (Zimbawe, Ukraine, France..):"

Good point.

"countries with functional, vibrant democracies" - you must have misunderstood, as I believe that MonkeyMind was discussing the US.

In all seriousness, simply going through the approved motions of "participating" will not really make it meaningful. One must participate in some way that actually counts for something. Sometimes refusing to participate in the charade is accomplishing more than pretending.

Twilight - "I far prefer the puppet on the right to the puppet on the left." Bill Hicks

Meanwhile, Russia and the Former Soviet Republics seem to have followed Orlov's advice, with predictable results, massive corruption and cynicism, plummeting life expectancies, crushing economic inequality,etc. There is a "free-rider" problem, in that some percentage of the population can follow this cynical and selfish advice and still benefit from the civic-minded, altruistic efforts of involved citizens. At some breaking point, if a large enough percentage of the public retreats into apathy, then the "free-riders" can drag a society down.

Russia and most of the former Soviet republics have, on average, higher voter turnout than the United States. At least they did in Ukraine and Russia during most recent presidential elections. Corruption, lower life expectancy and inequality are some of the consequences of the Soviet collapse that probably have nothing to do with the level of political engagement. The level of civic engagement has actully gone up quite a bit in the years leading to the collapse, as noted by Orlov.

Speaking from a personal experience, I can attest that having been active in the US anti-war movement for a better part of the last decade has made no difference whatsoever in terms of changing the US foreign policy. That goes for both Clinton and GWB administrations. Same with lobbying House/Senate and our state legislature on global warming and peak oil. The level of dysfunction and corruption in the US political system is past the point where an average citizen can make any meaningful difference. I still pay attention to federal politics, but gave up on trying to make any difference beyond the city/county level.

If you really want to piss off the Empire, do the one thing that's been known to get the Empire's B-52s flying and bombing: The threat of a good example. Start a Victory garden and show your neighbors how to do the same. Write/draw a cartoon book on how to make your own shoes. Go car-free and help others to be car-free. Eat whole foods and show anyone interested how to, also. Get the uninterested interested by doing a program showing how to do it on your public access TV channel or on YouTube. Dry your clothes on a line and help others set up clothes lines (it's becoming forgotten knowledge). If you're a musician write catchy songs about living this way, and put 'em on YouTube. If that Bananaphone song can get so big, so can songs about victory gardens, making shoes out of old tires, etc. Lead by example!

The Empire is dependent on all of us little peons spending, spending, spending. We US'ians are programmed and very effectively, to think that someone living modestly is a loser, mentally defective, romantically undesirable, etc. The Empire is dependent on its official state religion, Consumerism. Right now the banksters are really fearful that US'ians spending will continue to ramp down, and while it's ramped down some, there's a lot further to go, as I see poor people still buying soda pop and frozen pizzas. We have to come up with a way of life that's anti-consumerist, and show that it's a better way to live. It's not going to be easy, but we can't fault ourselves for not knowing what to do.

You can start by getting rid of your TV. I did, over 2 and a half years ago, my car is a paid off compact and I currently drive less than 5k a year. I moved to an urban area where most of my needs are within walking and biking distance. I know I can still consume even less than I do now. I'm already doing my part to piss off the empire as much as I can. Looking for ever more ways to piss them off!

enjoy the stress as you fight to keep your garden from being torn out by the local home owner's association.
love the laughter you get from your co-workers as they learn you walk.
try to explain to your boss that those 'home made shoes' do in fact fit the dress code.

I walk, and so do several of my co-workers. People don't laugh. Of course, they assume we do it because we're concerned about fitness. Doing it out of environmental concerns is also acceptable. Doing it because you think the world is going to run out of oil...best not to mention that.

I'm getting ready to do the 1.7 mi trek to and from work myself. Personal fitness is the "public" reason. Of course, I do figure I'll save about 35 gal. of gasoline per year - almost one full bbl of oil. More importantly, I think there is something to be said for starting to make the transition over from car to walking before one absolutely has to. I'm investing in some good walking shoes, a new, longer length and bright yellow rain parka, and a backpack. Not absolutely essential, maybe, but they will make the trek a little bit more pleasant and easier & safer. They are also easy to get and affordable now, but that might not be the case when tens of millions need to start walking.

fleam - "Right now the banksters are really fearful that US'ians spending will continue to ramp down"

Yeah the empire is shaking in it's boots. Get real!

Stringing it out: Innovative solar module assembly technology


Within the framework of CrystalClear, a large European project on the development of low-cost, highly efficient silicon solar modules, a new manufacturing process has been developed that allows modules to be made using very thin solar cells.

Will Drivers Learn to Stop Worrying and Love the Bus?


The ground is already shifting. Employers find that getting employees out of their cars and onto company-owned, Wi-Fi-enabled buses boosts productivity and morale. Fewer and fewer teenagers are getting driver’s licenses, and public transportation ridership is at its highest level since the 1950’s.

public transportation ridership is at its highest level since the 1950’s.

But the population of the US in the 1950s was only half what it is now, so that is not as impressive as it sounds.

I grew up taking the bus. I hated the bus. Then, after being a driver and all that, I go to Europe as part of a rather elite sports team, and what do I do? Ride the bus! And it's great, some Hans or Jose or Toshi is driving, and I get to sightsee. This is great! Maybe it takes a certain amount of maturity to appreciate the bus....

A young kid or adult will always want a feeling of autonomy and speed, it's probably a hormone thing. But, make the streets safe for bicyclists and you can get your speed fix if you like. And still have the bus, which is so nice when you have more packages than will fit in a backpack, don't want to wear "bike" clothes, etc.

Are food shortages starting now in Japan?? The shops here don't have butter, or only two or three packages left.....There are signs apologizing. It sends shivers up my spine to see the empty shelves where the butter used to be.

Cheese is also disappearing (imported cheese, that is.) A tiny wedge of French brie the size of three ordinary dice now costs 800 yen, about $8!! So noone buys it and it is not being restocked. (A piece three times that used to cost the same price, still way too expensive but not completely absurd, like now)

Fish is getting expensive too. And mayonnaise. And pasta.

Are food shortages starting now in Japan??

Yes. As linked in the April 22 DrumBeat.

It was just a few months ago that I was posting on some bike forums about how humanity has probably overshot, and that food shortages in the future were likely. One of the other people on the forum kept resisting. He kept claiming that there was plenty more land on which we could plant crops and all that...

I didn't think it would come to pass quite so soon though...

Water available for irrigation has to be one of the big problems for increasing the food supply. Vegetarians argue that we could kill off all the livestock and feed the grain being fed to livestock to people. I think this will happen organically as a function of price. More and more people around the world are going to be priced out of the market for meat.

More and more people around the world are going to be priced out of the market for meat.

I have been telling people that this is likely to happen. Don't know whether they believe me or not. My fiancee is a meat-and-potatoes kind of girl. If I hadn't gotten together with her, I would be well on my way to being vegetarian, I think. For some reason she doesn't like most of the vegetarian entrees that I have gotten in restaurants - she is pretty fussy about vegetables, and for some reason really dislikes the texture of tofu.

Many restaurants have good vegetarian entrees however - the trick is that people need to try them.

The way the oceans are being overfished, I am inclined to think that seafood is going to quickly be priced out of reach as well. Someone was telling me about some outfit in Hawaii that catches fish, airlifts them to the U.S. They don't even freeze the things. The very concept horrifies me - others view it as a "sign of progress". Whatever.

"Peak seafood" I believe is a huge lurking issue vis a vis the global food supply, and I don't think it's unrelated to the rising price of grains. As the price of seafood rised, grains are a clear substitute good. This is an as yet largely unproposed potential reason for the rise of corn/wheat/rice/soybean prices. Where is the human population going to turn for cheap protein?

Well, when the "bush meat" supply is exhausted, we'll probably start in on one another.

Soylent Green

It needs a better brand name before it can really take off. Put Steve Jobs on it. Then eat him.

Well, maybe you could use part (soy) of the original (soylent) and call it--without a trace of irony...


In Nevada (where they have the long tradition of cannibilism) they refer to it as "the long pig".

I've thought about doing DNA forensic on "bush meat", I suspect a fair bit of it is already composed of the most populous ape species.

Where is the human population going to turn for cheap protein?

Insects, mushrooms and soylant green.

Peak Seafood probably occurred around 1988:

See my slide deck on the State of the World's Oceans for the grim details.

4 Scientist (all female)were reporting to the Commission on energy and global warming about the status of the oceans on CSPAN yesterday. Truly frightening from thier point of view and what they are seeing with ocean acidity and temperature rise. They are more freaked out than folks are on peak oil. But listening to them, seems like the more we are putting in the ocean..the less we are taking out. We might be talking about peak air sometime soon since the oceans are the key helper for maintaing the air quality!

I saw a lecture by Freeman Dyson last year, and he mentioned that ocean acidification may turn out to be a more dire and immediate problem than climate change.

The fact is that we are strip-mining the oceans of most of its biomass, essentially turning back the clock to the days before complex multicellular life.

It's a damn shame that we can't find some guage that we can attach to people and charge them for the amount of air they consume. I resent all those joggers consuming extra oygen for FREE!

Overnight, air-freighted fish is a longstanding component of the restaurant industry. This did contribute to overfishing of the most popular species. However, the most destructive form of "fishing" is the trawler with its seine nets that scoop up everything it its path, with only the target species kept, and the "by-catch" tossed overboard. Read the book Empty Oceans for more specific details. Other problems exist, like the genetically modified Atlantic Salmon now raised in farms.

As for vegetarian foods, it's far better to experiment at home than at a restaurant. The Greens cookbook is a good place to start, and there are many others you'll find in your local library. I produce a lot of polenta and rice based casseroles, and will be using millet much more as mentioned yesterday. I remain an omnivore, however, as there's a wealth of non-industrial meats available here in Oregon, while home gardening, sport fishing and crabbing are theraputic and add to the larder.

...sport fishing and crabbing are theraputic...

Recreational fish torture is therapeutic? I think it's sick & sadistic, myself. Like Cheney getting some sort of psychosexual thrill out of killing small birds, torturing a helpless fish as "therapy" is a monstrous idea.

Seems a bit extreme to classify fishing as 'torture.' For that matter, harvesting meat of many different kinds has been widely practiced enough among humans for the past several hundred thousand years to be classified as 'part of human nature' if any kind of behaviour is.

Humans are biological herbivores, that's why the majority of people would not love to tear open a freshly killed pig and chew on it's bloody entrails (a biological carnivore would relish the opportunity). So to be logical, his objection to killing for fun is a natural human response, though obviously one that can be overcome by tradition or starvation (think how kids are taught to love animals as kids, then when one day they learn that cute "pigs" are the same thing as delicious "bacon" they often find it disturbing - but they are taught to accept it as the way things are: "don't think about where food comes from, little Johnny, just eat it").

Disagree. We're omnivores. Just with strongly ingrained cultural preferences when it comes to food.

Quite! Our dentition proves this. Everything kills to survive, something darwinsdog surely knows given his knowledge of biology. Personally, I view ALL life as sentient, which means plants and bacteria, too. I myself will eventually be eaten. That is how life works. Anyone opposed to killing to eat will starve to death by definition. Period.

I'd say we are oppertunivores.

My dog would definitely turn his nose up at freshly killed pig and its bloody entrails. He won't go near raw chicken. Much prefers his meat cooked. Guess that proves he's a "biological herbivore".

"Humans are biological herbivores"

This is clearly a false statement. Every bit of evidence supports that we are biological omnivores; are teeth, jaws and salivary glands indicate an omnivorous diet - humans lack fermenting vats like ruminants, our guts are clearly not evolved to eat a purely herbivorous diet
in addition, the archeological record is quite clear, humans have been eating meat since they have been human - anywhere you find evidence of ancient trash middens, you find evidence of humans having eaten animal protein

now, if you wish to choose to be a vegan, or argue that there is an ethical reason (or reasons) - if you wish to argue that eating lower on the food chain saves energy etc. - those are perfectly acceptable arguments - but making claims that biology and the historical record clearly refute is intellectually dishonest

Why would anyone want to tear open a freshly killed pig and chew on its entrails?

There is an art to killing, gutting and cleansing and burning off a freshly killed pig.

All the more so with pigs. They are intelligent and sensitive.

And loyal.

And this art is accompanied with a certain reverence and respect. Same with Trout, Rabbits, Pheasant or anything else.

Children should be at least taught to catch, kill, clean and cook fish.

Furry, big brown eyed mammals would be better, but that is not always possible in the modern world.

You need to get out more.

Whatever the science has to say, I know I feel better if I go on a vegetarian binge. My body loves me for it. But I do-o-o-o-o love a nice grass fed beef steak or filet mignon. Pass on the entrails and chitlins though.

If you are fishing without the intention of eating the fish, what else is it than deriving pleasure from inflicting pain on another being?
And to let the catched fish suffocate to death, which is, as far as I know, quite common, maybe even standard procedure is an unnecessary cruelty.

F. Monkey, I am not a fisherman but several of my friends are. Most are Largemouth Bass fishermen. They all practice "catch and release". They never let their catch die. You may call this cruelty but if there must be fishermen then this is by far the least cruel type.

Ron Patterson

I'm not condemning those who think and do differently, but for me my own gut check tells me that it just doesn't feel right to hunt or fish for an animal that you're not going to eat, even if you practice "catch & release". There's no "entertainment value" in it for me. Seems to me that there are better things I could be doing with my time than stressing wildlife.

Sorry, but if you don't want to eat the fish, why fish at all? There are certainly other activities you could do, that do not include catching, stressing and harming someone else.
And if it's all about being out there and enjoying nature, well, you can do that without having to fish.

You may call this cruelty...

Well, I am no fishing expert, so I don't know a lot about the various methods of catching fish, but concerning angling with hooks, I suggest you bite one yourself and then tell me if it is cruel.

I just pulled a radish out of the ground in my garden and ate it--KILLED it. Was that cruel, an act of some sadistic psychopath? Afterall, I'm sure it was still living and would have suvvived had I replanted it.

How about whatever you ate today? Did you feel guilty over having been party to the death of something living?

Life kills to live. Period.

And we all know, there is absolutely no difference between a radish and a cow.

I am a carnivore myself, but I can understand those who are not.

And "blah blah blah. Period", is an assholish way to make a point.

Your comment is a little bit off the road, because I criticized only the fishing for fun, not the fishing for food, as well as the dealing with the fish after catching it. So I don't know where you are aiming at with your comment.
I guess it was just some kind of reflex to defend certain habits, but it certainly has nothing to do with what I have said.

You are right though that life and death go together, and killing is an essential part of it, indeed it is necessary.
But killing and hunting solely for one's own amusement is not, and it surely tells a lot about your personality if you find joy in terrorizing those who have a hard enough life already.

And do I feel guilty for eating other beings? Yes, I do.
And if everyone else would do either, maybe we would care a little more about the fate of those whose life we destroy, for whatever reason.

Fallout Monkey, like anyone whom has an opinion, I suggest you go with a fisherman/woman (to be PC and I have been out-fished by many a woman before). I have rarely seen a fish die because of angling. If you were to accompany a fisherman, you would see they take great care not to overtax the fish, even to the point of abbreviating the catch. They know how to put the fish back in the water by cycling water through the gills to ensure breathing. And BAM! Off they go. Its equally exciting and peaceful to see that happen.

However, commercial fishing? Well, that's a different kettle of fish (PI - pun intended).

Anecdotal...fish and torture...

The two big supermarkets in Switz. (hold 90% of the trade) have both signed agreements with Friends of the Sea, Greenpeace, and others.

They don’t sell ‘protected’ fish, etc. etc. Result: no edible fish. (Imho. Farmed salmon is horrid.) Tuna, wild trout, shrimp, etc. etc. are sold in markets, at high prices (there is no Gvmt. legislation, only agreements and charters), but mostly, to the restaurant circuit. To eat some nice fish you have to be privileged. One store still sells frozen cod from Norway, I buy it often, but it is a hush-hush, passed on quietly amongst keen cooks!

The Swiss loving care of fish knows no bounds.

The new directives on animal protection (*law* on sept 1, 08) include the method for killing pet fish. Freezing them is no longer allowed. Apparently, it is a favorite method used, and painless - for the fish. You put the fish in a tupperware of water and stick that into the freezer.

Throwing them into the toilet is forbidden, as is immersing them in a solution of cloves, which reportedly just puts them quietly to sleep. I have this from the press, have never owned even one goldfish. Oh, goldfish bowls are forbidden as well.

These laws cannot be enforced. Lunacy!

A great example of exploiting emotion to avoid addressing real problems. I also tried to balance the good with the crazy and show how they become confused.

The link is in french and tells you how to kill pet fish. In a politically correct, law abiding, manner.


However, the most destructive form of "fishing" is the trawler with its seine nets that scoop up everything it its path, with only the target species kept, and the "by-catch" tossed overboard. Read the book Empty Oceans for more specific details. Other problems exist, like the genetically modified Atlantic Salmon now raised in farms.

With the rise of fish farming, I would guess that the "by-catch" is ground up into fish food for the farm raised fish. The oceans are being stripped of anything edible by either humans or farm raised fish. Even jellyfish are edible.

"I would guess that the "by-catch" is ground up into fish food for the farm raised fish"

Not everywhere, in some parts there are strict (crazy) limits on what can be landed so 80% of what is caught is thrown back:-(

And not like a catch and release type throw back of live fish. By catch is thrown back dead either because it is a species out of season or over the limit.

The rational is that if a by catch species was allowed to be kept it would be actively fished but there could be some by catch quota system set up. I.e. by what is the average amount of by catch and allow for that to be kept.

Overfishing is at a crises level and needs to be addressed however throwing back dead fish is a mistake that benefits no one except perhaps the crabs and lobster.

Another good book to read is Charles Glover's 'The End of the Line - How Overfishing Is Changing the World and What We Eat':


Puts you off fish forever.

The restaurants that I refer to are in fact vegetarian restaurants, and not ordinary restaurants that happen to have one veggie thing on the menu. The restaurants that have a completely vegetarian menu seem to do a better job of it (usually Asian themed). Although there is nothing wrong with the eggplant parm when we go to the Italian restaurant.

If I were still single I would probably be making this stuff myself. My fiancee is a much better cook than I am, and she works in the food industry at that (sales rep for a company that sells to restaurants).

I've got a couple of comments here.

Regarding Veggie food -I'm not one myself but living here in the UK we have loads of really fine Indian Restaurants some of which are 100% veg. and I could easily be a 100% Veggie if it all tasted that good. So I would suggest a trip to India for you and you fiancee. The veg stuff they do is really fantastic.

On the overfishing issue as Diesel rises in price trawlers / fishermen will have to charge a lot more for their sea catch and at some price point land and close shore farmed systems will start to seriously compete. I think we will have to move to Permaculture Aquaponics -farm fisheries- in a big way. Fish Feedstock can be lower quality Sprats or farmed Duck Weed for Omnivorous fish... Most prawns are farmed -look at the 'Country of Origin' on the label next time you are in the supermarket: Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia: all SE Asia then flown over...


So I would suggest a trip to India for you and you fiancee.

Now that sounds like a low carbon way to find out about tasty veg.

How about just visiting your local big city? They have Indian restaurants.

And, odds are they have MTR branded 'veggies in a bag' product. You put the bags in hot water, then open, pour and eat.
A good way to figure out what you might like.

(back to my Dal making - using pulp from my juicer.)

Being from the hometown of MTR (Bangalore, India) and having had the misfortune of buying that stuff, I would suggest you look very carefully at the contents.

The stuff says no preservatives, but check out the amount of oil and fat in it - I don't know if the US has a law that asks producers to disclose the amount of trans-fat in stuff.

If you see hydrogenated oil/partially hydrogenated oil on the stuff, throw it out or eat as little of the stuff as possible. You really don't want your heart giving up on you (even if PO holds some tough times ahead :)).

There is another brand which makes stuff that is less harmful. Will try and get the name and post it for those who seem to relish Indian vegetarian.


While I agree that the heavy trans-fats are an issue - buying a packet or 2 or going to 'local' Indian-themed restruants is far more sensible than traveling to India to try the food.

I bought some steak last night at my local supermarket and was hard pressed to find what you might consider by definition, "a steak".

Almost all the packages had a bright, star-burst sticker attached touting, "Thin Cut". At prices ranging from $8.49 to 14.29 a pound, I guess slicing a normal steak down the middle and packaging the two 1/4" slabs side-by-side is a desperate attempt to make you think you are actually getting more.

Sign of the times.

I think they are going for the asian and hispanic markets. Wok food and fajitas. At least I would assume it is that way out here. Where you are, who knows?
My millet bread loafs turned into puffy bread, like normal bread. Price stayed the same. Was that an improved baking process or a way to cut costs? The price for millet bread is much higher than for wheat bread. I'm celiac so I have no choice.

Yes, both meat and dairy (all animal products) are extremely resource-intensive since they are higher up on the food chain. The true cost of meat and dairy is hidden by enormous public subsidies, etc., etc. The irony is that people are going to be forced into a lower-calorie + plant-based diet, which will gradually wipe out obesity & chronic diseases, since the "diseases of affluence" are caused by a diet rich in animal foods (see the work of Dr. John Mcdougall, Dr. Dean Ornish, etc.). This will have the effect of reducing the death rates, which will further compound population growth probs, crazy as it seems. But at least it will slow all the scamming and grossly ineffective drug and cut "medical" and pill industries which do nothing but exacerate people's health problems by failing to inform them that the cause of disease is not genetics, but the animal foods and junk foods on their plate (see The China Study and a zillion others showing a plant based diet reverses chronic disease). Anyone who has done the research knows that humans are biological herbivores (see Dr. McDougall's Digestive Tune Up for a good overview of the science) - so rising food costs will mean people will switch to the plant fuels which are more attune with the human machine's evolutionary design. Of course the body is incredibly resilient - yes it can run 50-80 years on whiskey, sausage and cheese, but I think obese and sick people will be surprised by the health benefits of food shortages, lol. That is, unless/until it reaches starvation levels. I've intensively researched nutritional science for over a decade, and one thing people grossly underestimate is the nutitional value of simple plant foods. Scientific studies clearly show that as long as calorie needs are met, even a diet of 95-100% potatoes or wheat (like Papua, New Guinea where sweet potatoes are a staple) - people maintain excellent health. There is no such thing as protein-deficiency when hunger is satisfied with high calorie plant foods (that's why it's called protein-calorie malnutrition - it's starvation that is the problem, not plant foods). But man the average brainwashed American is going to freak out when they can no longer afford meat and dairy, which they think are essential, despite the fact that humans are biological herbivores, and billions surivive with little or no animal products out of necessity.

On the positive side, as the 2005 UN report "Livestock's Long Shadow" reveals, livestock causes more greenhouse emissions than ALL of transportation vehicles combined (something like 19% versus 15%, check the report). The #1 thing people can do to combat global climate change is to eat lower on the food chain. And now Peak Oil is going to force a lot of people to do just that.

the "diseases of affluence" are caused by a diet rich in animal foods...

While I have no disagreement with a vegetable based diet, the diseases of affluence are not due to meat. They are due to sugar and refined flour. The science is pretty well established at this point.

Read Gary Taubes "Good Calories, Bad Calories". It's a remarkably balanced, and deep, piece of scholarship.

No, that is not supported by the bulk of the scientific evidence - though it is a very popular meme for sure. Look around the world - epidemic artery disease, diabetes and cancer happen whenever populations add meat/dairy in significant amounts to the diet. Yes, flour and sugar are correlated as well, but correlation is not causation. When people eat animal products, they are using a poor fuel subsitite instead of the plant foods the body is designed for - thus the cascading problems that lead to disease in many areas of the body (arteries, organs, etc). And when they switch to a vegan diet they are cured ( www.drmcdougall.com ). This is so well supported by the science I'm always surprised to see it brought up. In fact I know of studies on very poor growing children comparing using whole wheat and white flour as a main food source. They developed just fine, as you'd expect if you are familar with the research. Dean Ornish published way back in 1988 the pioneering studies proving heart disease is reversible via low-fat basically vegan diet, then in 2005 he published a study on prostate cancer showing those on the vegan diet got better while those eating animal products got cancer. NONE of those on the vegan diet progressed to full blown cancer. But these are just the tip of the iceberg - it is so well established to me it's like denying gravity and basic human biology. When you realize that the human body is DESIGNED to process sugars, and that the brains ONLY fuel is glucose, maybe you can begin to see the fallacy in blaming carbohydrates on health problems in herbivorous animals. It's like saying health problems in carnivores are caused by eating meat and not enough carbohydrates! (To be clear, refined sugars have their drawbacks, but causing artery disease, cancer, etc are not part of them - in fact the science clearly shows that the higher percentage carbohydrate in the diet, the LESS chronic disease in a population).

Look around the world - epidemic artery disease, diabetes and cancer happen whenever populations add meat/dairy in significant amounts to the diet. Yes, flour and sugar are correlated as well, but correlation is not causation.

Exactly. Correlation is not causation, so how to do you know that it's the meat/dairy that's the problem, and not the refined carbs?

How do you explain the Inuit, who lived off meat and blubber yet suffered no heart disease...until they switched to a western diet with refined carbs?

How do you explain the way obesity exploded in the US when we started eating more carbs and less meat and fat? There was no corresponding drop in activity, so don't blame it on our being sedentary.


I agree fully. Unfortunately most vegans are not open to rational argument -- veganism is a religion and the only reason I never reply in length to a vegan is that it is a total waste of time.

Good anti-quack site here (WARNING includes articles on organic food bullsh):


Nice propaganda link. Here's some serious logic backed by scientific evidence instead (all you "humans are biological omnivores" people should read this):


It seems you all refuse to admit that humans are primates - guess what primates are biological herbivores, check the article above, especially the section dealing with human anatomy. But be warned, unpopular truths about human nutrition are treated the same way as religious people having their faith questioned! So I dare y'all to actually read the scientific evidence above - I know most here are empiricists like myself, and want the facts, not just propaganda and misinformation.
Note that I NEVER said humans weren't functional omnivores, but you know you can feed an alligator broccoli all day long but it does not change its carnivorous biology!

Leanan - loved your post and read the book you recommended (Good Calories, Bad Calories). Do you think that vegetarians are troubled by the fact that everything that they eat, their body turns into meat?

At the other extreme, you have the Asian diets that are low in meat, and have lots of rice. Asians tended to be pretty skinny until they learned western eating habits.

Taubes covers that. He argues that what we saw there was the benefits of caloric restriction, not the benefits of a high-carb diet.

Basically, caloric restriction does seem to reduce heart disease and prolong life. And if your calories are very limited, it doesn't really matter what you eat. White rice, vegetables, steak, Twinkies.

He also points out that there were many societies that did not fit the "low-carb = healthy" model. But they were ignored, and societies that did were cherry-picked to come up with those cross-cultural studies that were so influential forty years ago.

Leanan - The concept of eating meat is always going to be a hot topic. The problem I have with eating meat and fish currently is the industrial harvesting of flesh.

If we raised our own cattle and took responsibility for their care and slaughter, as well as caught our own fish we would consume far less animal protein and the humane treatment of animals would rise precipitously.

We are far too removed from our land bases and the source of animal protein to react responsibly to eating flesh.

Almost all the fish & seafood available in US markets, excepting the small percentage that is aquaculture-raised, come from fisheries that are NOT managed for maximum sustainable yield. I have a VERY, VERY big problem with that, which is why fish and seafood do not very often appear on my dinner plate.

If you want to make that argument, fine. But don't try telling me that we're not meant to eat meat, or that it's unhealthy for us to do so.


You should get your hands on a copy of Taubes' book. Not because he reaches different conclusions but because you obviously read a lot of diet research. I am sure you will appreciate what Taubes has done (even if you disagree). He's very methodical, very thorough. He presents a lot of data... and he includes extensive notes, indexed to both pages and chapters. The bibliography alone is 70 pages long... It's the single, most extensive, survey of nutritional research I've come across.

The brain, according to Taubes (referencing the Institute of Medicine publication: Dietary Reference Intakes, 2002) can function on ketone bodies and glycerol.

Many peple following a no carb diet can tell you that when your brain stops getting a nice supply of blood sugar and starts using ketones you start feeling "fizzy".

I have no idea if that feeling goes away, or if people get used to it, as I do not know anyone who actually managed to follow the diet long-term. But for me "fizzy brain" is a bad sign.

Also I would venture to guess that no-carb means more land and oil per day´s nutritional requirement.

It goes away.

And a lot of people have bad reactions to sugar...that don't go away.

Also I would venture to guess that no-carb means more land and oil per day´s nutritional requirement.

Taubes points out that this was one factor underlying the shift in the consensus against meat and fat, which really gained steam in the '70s. When overpopulation and resource limits were a big concern. Eating lower on the food chain was supposed to be the ethical thing to do, so there was some pressure to find that it was healthy, too. No strong-arming - just that people tend to see what they want to see.

But just because it would be politically convenient if it were true doesn't mean that it is.

I second the recommendation. Many people have found the book to be life changing.

As for the "diseases of affluence", they are really the diseases of civilization. Most indigenous people (and our hunter-gatherer anscestors) ate diets higher in fat & protein than we do. The traditional Masai diet is something like 70% fat. The traditional Inuit diet is over 99% animal food. The Pima Indians were neither obese nor particularly prone to diabetes, until their traditional way of life was destroyed by encroaching civilization, and they started to live on government handouts of white flower & rice. They are now the most obese people on earth and rates of type 2 diabetes are approaching 100%. Interestingly, the Masai have a "fattening ritual", in which the men gorge themselves with carbohydrates to rapidly gain weight. They rapidly shed the weight as soon as they return to their traditional diet.

In nearly every case, indigenous people were healthy with little incidence of chronic diseases like obesity, atherosclerosis, and cancer, until their diet changed to the diet of "civilized" people, at which point they began to show all the "diseases of civilization." The reverse is also true; Europeans who lived with indigenous peoples (e.g. the Inuit) did quite well, so the change cannot be explained by genetic differences.

Another well-documented fact concerning the "diseases of affluence" is that poor people are more prone to obesity and type 2 diabetes than the rich. The poor are fat; the rich are thin. That's not what you would expect if the problem was affluence. But it is what you would expect if the problem is sugar and refined carbohydrates, since they form a higher percentage of the diet of the poor.

Might exercise also play a role? Inuits living a traditional lifestyle involving a lot of daily exercise would very easily burn all the calories of fat they could possibly ingest. If you're living on government handouts why not live a more sedentary life? The rich are thinner than the poor not only because they can buy organic papayas at Whole Foods, but because they have personal trainers who come to the house every day for an hour and a half of core workouts and pilates.

What is this thing you have with the 'rich' and personal trainers? I am not rich, nor do I have a personal trainer. Six months ago, after reading Taubes' book, I shifted my diet to higher proportion of meat and fat, virtually cut out sugar and processed carbs in favor of whole grains for the lower carb portion of my diet. I go for a health screening each year that the local Bi-Mart store offers for cheap. My most recent one, 6 months after the diet change, showed significant improvement in all my cholesterol, lipid and triglyceride measures and showed my cardio profile to be extremely healthy. On top of this, I dropped about 6 pounds, not even trying to since weight has never been a problem for me. My activity level hasn't changed and I eat like a horse (an omnivorous one...)

The exercise issue is addressed thoroughly. Not a factor. Neither is this personal trainer crap.

Shargash - "healthy" food in the US is considered to be high-carb, sugary, junk. I often go to a wonderful coffeehouse in town here that's generally full of middle-aged fat ladies. There are dishes on the menu tailored for middle-aged fat ladies, stuff like "skinny pancakes" which are pancakes with a little "fruit" syrup on them or some such nonsense. That and a huge sugary latte sort of thing with fat-free "cream" yuk. Afterwards a typical middle-aged fat lady may hit the Jamba Juice, 1500 calories of sugary water, yum!

Meanwhile I'm having a croissant with real butter, and maybe a coffee or capp with half and half lol. Oh and walking all over town, and generally I'v hit the weights that morning too. I just wish this place would serve pork chops then I'd be really happy lol.

Same thing at McD's, yeah I ate there this morning. One sausage mcmuffin with egg, hold the cheese, and a cup of water. Partially my meagre budget determines this choice, if I were more flush I'd have a cup of their rather good coffee with cream too. But the sausage mc muffin is about 450 calories, the mcmuffin part is kind of evil being white flour, but other than that it's egg and a sausage patty, not bad. Meanwhile the folks around me are typically getting Extra Value Meals which are basically Extra Carb Meals.

At least gas prices have more people walking and bicycling these days.

It's a remarkably balanced, and deep piece of scholarship


It's even better than that --- it's perhaps the only deep piece of scholarship on the subject.

Because nowhere else is more quackery and mumbo-jumbo to be found than in the field of 'nutrition science'.


The supplement consisted of retinol (5000 IU), vitamin B1 (20 mg), vitamin B2 (20 mg), vitamin B6 (25 mg), niacin (100 mg), folic acid (0.8 mg), vitamin B12 (50 micrograms), vitamin C (500 mg), vitamin E (200 mg), and selenium (100 micrograms).


If results of the new study, published in the journal Molecular Nutrition & Food Research, can be repeated in humans, it may suggest potential for the spice for diabetes management or prevention.

...quackery and mumbo-jumbo

The really interesting thing is that quackery and mumbo-jumbo is not randomly distributed. :-)

Q & M-J is highly correlated with the selling of "nutrients", the selling of cholesterol medication, and the selling of unsaturated and non-fat foodstuffs. It is remarkable.

Nutritional science = $$$.

Will, here's another link you might enjoy (though clearly I am preaching to the converted):


Gotta go now -- another miracle to perform:

Two, four, six, eight: time to transubstantiate ...

Another good read on this subject is Michael Pollan's book "in Defence of Food". He comments on the issue of the "western diet" being a cause of health problems. By western diet he is basically talking about processed stuff, The "foods" that are mostly advertized as health, convienient, and usually packaged. Of course these are the cash cows of the "food industry" as well.

Thank you for this information. I am going to use this when I think about menu planning in the future. Meat and dairy are going to go away (perhaps slowly perhaps quickly). I don't like meat at all but I love cheese......yet I think this will be a better planet when we're all focused on getting ahold of our next potato instead of buying our next big screen TV. Simplifies things!!

I'm not so sure about dairy - in terms of land & energy use, it is (or can be) pretty efficient, and can make use of marginal land that otherwise can't be farmed. It will be more expensive in the future, for sure.

Don't disagree with you Vegan, but you will have to pull my bottle of milk from my cold dead hands. I wish I was so disciplined, but I am a silly monkey. I have tried staying off the meat and reducing the dairy for a period and I can honestly say the two go hand in hand. I reduced my craving for milk and had more carrot juice.

Carrot juice is very good BTW! Love it fresh.

And this may sound incredible to us omnivores, but I actually started getting repulsed by the smell of cooking meat! Although I don't smoke, it was like I had quit. Why don't I do that again? Because I am a silly monkey.

How does this all integrate with PO? Simple, get used to it. As Vegan says, it might be our only course in years to come. I hope not, but I'm prepared to accept it.

That reminds me of when I very briefly took up a T'ai Chi based diet - within a month I felt physically sick when I smelt a butcher's shop, and petrol fumes nearly knocked me out!

I gave it up as not suitable for a polluted city - fight garbage by eating garbage!

Sure there's plenty of land, each American dwelling typically has enough land around it for a nice little garden and some chickens etc. But planting a Victory garden and keeping a few hens is ILLEGAL in most areas too. As are putting up a clothesline, keeping pigeons, etc.

There are times when people's culture kills them.

Our answer to problems like this is, "When things aren't working well, CARVE A BIGGER STONE HEAD".

Fleam, it isn't like that everywhere. In the small town where I live, I can have a garden, and I've seen other people that are also gardening. I've also got a beehive now, no problem. Rabbits are my next project. Technically, I'm only allowed three, but I'll be keeping them out of sight and can probably get away with a few more than that; enforcement is complaint-driven, and if the neighbors don't even notice that I have rabbits, that shouldn't be a problem. Chickens might be OK, too, but no roosters yet (the neighbors WILL complain about that)! Even a goat would probably be OK, as long as it is kept confined. (Good luck!) Clotheslines are absolutely no problem.

I think part of it is that my town grew up as a working class/middle class town. We don't have the posh streets right off of downtown lined by grand old victorian mansions; almost all the housing consists of smallish bungalow cottages and smallish ranchers. It is only lately that a few slightly more &^*^*&^ &%$&$ well-to-do people have moved in and started spoiling the view by building their *&%*% &$U^$&^ McMansions on the mountainsides. Even these people tend to not be the super-rich, just a little better off than average. They are too few in number and not well enough entrenched to be able to enforce the kinds of land use restrictions you are talking about, except within their own small subdivisions. Heck, it is even possible for people to put a doublewide in on some lots within the town limits. Our land use controls are pretty minimal, maybe too much so.

If you tell me that it isn't like that anywhere in California, I'd be prepared to believe you. But the whole US is not like California.

Butter, cheese, fish & mayonnaise. The Japanese will be healthier without these lipid sources.

I disagree. IMO the best research indicates that butter, cheese, fish & mayonnaise are primo foods and good for you. Now if they cut out sugar and refined carbs, this would be a positive step. Unfortunately, these are the cheap calories and the ones that poorer people consume.

Omega-3's help you spot the sarcanol better ;-)

Stroke caused by insufficient cholesterol is as big a problem in Japan as atherosclerosis is in the US. Many Japanese doctors are encouraging their patients to eat more fat. Fat is not unhealthy. Sugar and refined carbohydrates are.

Where are you?

I'm west of Tokyo on the Seibu Ikebukuro line. I've noticed cheese and flour getting more expensive, but haven't noticed any outright shortages.

Just an energy investment in sand to think about.

Longshoremen should finish unloading 6,700 tons of sand contaminated with depleted uranium and lead

Last night Jason Lewis said that peak oil was BS, and we don’t need to worry about it. He says the only problem is the environmentalists won’t let us drill in ANWR or build refineries. If we can do those two things, we will have endless supplies of cheap oil (there’s plenty of spare capacity in OPEC too, he didn’t elaborate on why they aren’t pumping it).

I just thought I would let you know that you are all wrong. If Jason says it, it must be true.

Jason Who?

He's our conservative talk radio guy here in Minnesota. He fills in for Rush Limbaugh when he's on vacation. He's basically like Rush, or Sean Hannity or those guys.

Let's face it fellow tree-huggers: ANWR is toast. The coasts of California and Florida are toast. So are Wyoming and West Virginia. I say, let 'em have at it. Let them drill the @#$% out of the entire US. In the long run, it won't make a damned bit of difference. We'll still run out of dead dinosaur goo to oxidize (and we won't be any closer to finding a substitute).

Let the drilling/stripping begin, fools! When you're done, we'll take on Canada!

Yeah, they're toast, but the question is when. Save 'em for when we really need 'em.

Seems like I read a while back that the oil companies were not much interested in the leases in ANWR. They probably have a much better notion of the risk/profit ratio in that area. Huge risks and expenses, dubious profits, even with the magnanimous tax breaks of the GWB administration.

Canada is with you 100%-you would be hard pressed to find a single resident of Alberta who gives a crap about the destruction to the environment (slight exaggeration).

According to a Globe and Mail blog message this morning, lots of Albertans are planning to retire in BC ... once they've extracted their wealth and made the province unliveable, I should think.

That's pretty much my plan. Work at Fort McMoney long enough to pay off my doomstead in BC. Ironic isn't it? Oil sands are helping me prep for long term effects of Peak Oil.

Wait'll they drive to their new beach retirement homes and find they're submerged.

Oh wait, the homes are already underwater - debt-wise.
And how will they be able to afford to drive by the time they retire?

Boy, our plans are looking stupider by the hour.

Not me, I'm building a passsive solar home upwind of the coal fired power plants on Lake Wabamun. and I am doing the work by hand mostly. should be warm and cosy by christmas, with R45 walls and R60 ceilings, In floor heating as a back up, with a wood stove backing it up, (just in case). One floor no heated storage. All glass has been salvaged from a local glass company that places old patio doors up against the wall for the likes of me to remove to reuse.

Then we'll hit Peak Drilling. They will drill so many holes in the continent that it will start sinking like a cartoon island. I think I should make up the fake news release now and see how far it goes.

"Scientists warn excessive oil drilling due to high gas prices threaten the continent. Joe Labcoat presented to annual conference of U.S. Geologilogists hosted in New Orleans today that recent studies have shown increased drilling activity is causing the U.S. and North America to sink by 3 cm per year. "New Orleans could be underwater in 10 years!", exclaimed a city councilman."

I love making up fake news stories. Maybe I could get a job with an Administration?

Few survivors after 500 ducks take dip in Alberta oilsands waste

Workers at a wildlife rehabilitation centre outside Edmonton worked to save a handful of oil-coated ducks Wednesday while environmentalists, politicians and Syncrude officials argued about who is responsible for the latest black mark against the province's oilsands development.

About 500 ducks landed Monday on a tailings pond filled with waste from Syncrude's oilsands operation at the Aurora North Site mine, north of Fort McMurray. Only a handful of birds survived the dip in the toxic water. Most of the ducks were too heavily coated with oil and waste to survive.

They may be toast, but keep fighting. They've seen us cave too many frigging times now. They get no slack with me.


Let's go ahead and eat all the seed corn while we're at it. That will take care of food prices, for sure.

Well, Monsanto says we have to eat all the corn because its DNA is their intellectual property and we're not allowed to let it touch Mother Earth.

I've heard Jason Lewis filling in for Rush Limbaugh. He's one of Rush's better substitutes. One of the times I heard him he was busy attempting to debunk peak oil, talking a lot about the Bakken formation - I think it was the same day the Bakken report came out. It was the first time I heard either he or Rush talk about peak oil.

I have a feeling the conservative talk show hosts are going to be spending a lot more time on peak oil. The basic theme will be "the resource is there, but to the extent there is a problem it is because the liberal left and the environmentalists won't let us drill in ANWR."

I posted on this yesterday, but the transcript of Rush's rant on energy is a worthwhile read.

The Four Horsemen of the Energy Apocalypse Caused This Oil Mess

The major oilcos are gearing up for one final, sunset push into the arctic and offshore, then they are done. This will be the post-White House project for W, Darth and their friends. These talking points are to lay the groundwork for the move to remove the legal obstacles to opening up ANWR and offshore - probably during the lame duck session after the election.

So some unknown guy who fills in for another unknown guy who gives a radio show in Minnesota (where's Minnesota?) says PO is crap. ROTFLOL

This is a very common belief among republicans (I won't call them conservatives). They're absolutely convinced that environmentalists and liberals are to blame. They're in for a rude awakening.

Oil depletion is caused by marriage obsessed pot smoking homosexual womens libbers who have constant abortions and hate guns and Jesus.

BrianT - you forgot to mention that they are all democrats.

I guess they will be blaming all of the Russian and Saudi environmentalists when those places decline. I hear the Riyadh chapter of the Sierra Club is pretty powerful.

I was having dinner with someone who lacks a grasp on reality. He was complaining about gas prices, but angrily hrummphed “just wait until a democrat is president.” This was kind of a family engagement, so politics are somewhat off topic, but I won’t allow such stupid things to be uttered and still keep my mouth shut. I don’t want them thinking I agree. I told him it doesn’t make a bit of difference who is in the white house. We are no longer in control. We are along for the ride, just like the rest of the world. He didn’t disagree, but he wasn’t too happy.

Here's what our clueless Senator Sanders (definitely not a Republican) says:

Short term, in order to address the immediate crisis, we need to:
Demand that Saudi Arabia and other OPEC oil-producing countries increase their production and put more oil on the market. Incredibly, Saudi Arabia is producing less oil today than it did two years ago.

(He'll probably ignore this letter he got in reply.)

GM reports $3.3B loss

DETROIT–General Motors Corp. struggled to a $3.3 billion first-quarter loss, due in part to a weak U.S. market, a strike at a major supplier and plummeting sales of sport utility vehicles and pickups.

Speaking of toast. . .

But who's got the guts to let it fail? Our owners understand crowd control and mass hysteria; they used it to get their no-bid contracts and tax cuts after 9/11. A GM failure would have a political cost magnitudes greater than its real importance, because Bush's voters think GM really matters. They've been carefully de-educated to disregard everything else, but they know what a Chevy is. It may be more real to them than America.

I had the pleasure of visiting Chicago and the 100th Motor Show earlier in the year and all I can say is that -when you are used to smaller more compact and efficient 'European' models- the 'carwarez' on offer just looked like bloated dinosaurs...

The makers of these behemoths are as clueless as those who buy them -party on Billion Loss Boy!


Austin's Ben Sargent has this to say about the gas tax 'holiday':

Tory energy diet tough to swallow

Second thoughts surface over biofuel plan

OTTAWA -- It's classic Canadian mentality: Fret the pump price, blame a profit-pocketing conspiracy by Big Oil for gouging consumers, contemplate fuel alternatives down the road -- and then drive normally.

A poll by Praxicus Public Strategies, taken last weekend, finds energy costs tied with health care near the top of Canadian concerns, behind only chart-topping worries over the economy and the environment.

But will Canadians drive less? Heck no. Two-thirds of the 1,200 surveyed say they can't change their driving habits any time soon and can only hope alternatives to the spiralling cost of their fossil fuel addiction will be found.

The preferred solution, the poll found, is to drive more on renewable ethanol or biofuels with a "steep drop" in support for switching to public transit.

Perhaps that interpretation is not surprising, given that the poll was commissioned by the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association.

Riders flock to buses as gas prices jump

Ottawa is seeing a surge in public transit ridership as rising gasoline prices and increased congestion prompt residents to get on the bus.

Last fall saw a big jump in transit riders, with a 5.8-per-cent increase in October compared with October the previous year, a 6.9-per-cent increase in November and a 4.6-per-cent increase in December. In January, ridership went up 3.1 per cent, in February, it jumped 5.8 per cent and it climbed 1.2 per cent in March.

"We are running at capacity," said Councillor Alex Cullen, chairman of the transit committee, who said there was high ridership, but also a lot of complaints about service through the winter.

"We need to get more buses."

Summary of Weekly Petroleum Data for the Week Ending April 25, 2008

U.S. crude oil refinery inputs averaged 14.7 million barrels per day during the week ending April 25, down 79,000 barrels per day from the previous week's average. Refineries operated at 85.4 percent of their operable capacity last week. Gasoline production moved higher compared to the previous week, averaging nearly 9.0 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel production rose last week, averaging 4.2 million barrels per day.

U.S. crude oil imports averaged 10.2 million barrels per day last week, up 174 thousand barrels per day from the previous week. Over the last four weeks, crude oil imports have averaged 9.5 million barrels per day, 691 thousand barrels per day below the same four-week period last year. Total motor gasoline imports (including both finished gasoline and gasoline blending components) last week averaged nearly1.4 million barrels per day. Distillate fuel imports averaged 273 thousand barrels per day last week.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories (excluding those in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve) increased by 3.8 million barrels from the previous week. At 319.9 million barrels, U.S. crude oil inventories are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 1.5 million barrels last week, and are in the upper half of the average range. Finished gasoline inventories rose last week while gasoline blending components inventories declined during this same time. Distillate fuel inventories increased by 1.1 million barrels, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year. Propane/propylene inventories increased by 0.9 million barrels last week. Total commercial petroleum inventories increased by 8.9 million barrels last week, and are in the lower half of the average range for this time of year.

Demand was up across the board. Looks like the big story was imports, both of oil and finished gasoline - both big.

And here is what they were expecting:

Analysts expect a small 300,000-barrel rise in crude stocks last week and a 700,000-barrel decrease in gasoline, according to a Reuters poll.

Crude selloff.

I think the big news today will be the Fed.

That may impact, but crude down $2.00 in 15 min since the weekly inventory report.

The most startling thing to note in the report is that a cool 15% of the US's gasoline supply came in the form of imports. Ouch.

In spite of a near 3 million barrel week-on-week increase in gasoline imports, inventories fell. Ouch.

Price Elasticity of Demand
4 Week Averages 08 vs. 07

Finished Motor Gasoline. . . 9,257 . . 9,223 .+0.4%
Kerosene-Type Jet Fuel . . . . 1,569 . . 1,637 . . -4.2%
Distillate Fuel Oil . . . . . . . . . 4,257 . . 4,229 . +0.7%
Residual Fuel Oil . . . . . . . . . . . 795 . . . . 724 . +9.8% Propane/Propylene . . . . . . . . .1,037 . . 1,107. . -6.3%
Other Oils. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3,765. . 3,653 . +3.1%
Total Products Supplied . . . 20,679 . 20,572 +0.5%

Not Much Hope,


And in spite of little or no observable demand destruction, idle US refiners, given the highest domestic US gasoline prices in history, are unable to come up with the supply, thereby requiring hefty import levels to sustain stocks - I guess that at current prices/refining margins, it simply ain't profitable for them to do so. Ouch.

The desperation to keep gasoline prices as low as is humanly possible in a presidential election year is pretty evident.

Washington Post (via MSNBC)Siphoning off corn to fuel our cars
As farmers feed ethanol plants, a costly link is forged between food and oil

And it has linked food and fuel prices just as oil is rising to new records, pulling up the price of anything that can be poured into a gasoline tank. "The price of grain is now directly tied to the price of oil," says Lester Brown, president of Earth Policy Institute, a Washington research group. "We used to have a grain economy and a fuel economy. But now they're beginning to fuse."

Here's some good analysis on the food vs fuel problem from the Washington Post, complete with a video.

RE Toplink "Oil and states don't mix"

Another story today of similar vein:

"Clinton-McCain gas tax holiday slammed as bad idea"

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A gas tax holiday proposed by U.S. presidential hopefuls John McCain and Hillary Clinton is viewed as a bad idea by many economists and has drawn unexpected support for Clinton rival Barack Obama, who also is opposed.

"You are just going to push up the price of gas by almost the size of the tax cut," said Eric Toder, a senior fellow at the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center in Washington."


"If you want to provide households tax relief, a direct rebate ... is more effective. Not all of the tax relief from a gas tax holiday will be passed on to consumers. Some will likely be kept by refiners,"

Well yeah. What with gasoline margins being squeezed so hard. There's an opportunity.

The Federal .18 gas tax is not proportional so it's percentage is constantly dropping. I am pretty sure that all the equiptment and construction materials needed to maintain our highways are subject to energy and commodity increases. So less is getting done in any event. Sections of the asphalt around here are beginning to look ready for planting.

A gas tax holiday proposed by U.S. presidential hopefuls John McCain and Hillary Clinton is viewed as a bad idea by many economists...

Only because the naive economists haven't worked out the end-game:

A) once fuel is tax free NO ONE will ever restore the tax

B) this clears the decks for user fees and privatization: toll roads, congestion pricing, and so on...

C) use fees opens the door to GPS tracking (to facilitate fee collection...)

D) Homeland Security hits the lotto (TRUST THEM) with GPS revenue-tracking. It's better than internal passports and national ID.

E) the illegal immigration issue self-resolves with GPS tracking

Never underestimate the intelligentsia in Washington.

The thought comes to mind that if they rob the highway trust fund, then the road conditions will worsen at an even faster rate, and it will only accelerate us towards the end of the car era.

At some point in the future the gas tax is inevitably going to be replaced with something else. Even if you make the optimistic assumption that all cars will be replaced with electric cars, then the contributions to the highway trust fund would be wiped out. Now what they end up replacing it with would be hotly debated of course....

The thought comes to mind that if they rob the highway trust fund, then the road conditions will worsen at an even faster rate, and it will only accelerate us towards the end of the car era...


By moving to use fees, we accelerate the regressive tax scheme. This motivates the public away from cars and into buses.

At first I was horrified by the idea eliminating the fuel tax... but when I noodled on it for a while, I decided it was the quickest way to kill car culture. And... it has the benefit is being truly disingenuous.

You might stay horrified... if'n those buses are headed to Camp Halliburton.

I got that suss'ed.

You just have to carry a picture of Ronald Reagan in your wallet. (or Barry Goldwater if you need deep protection).

Oh... and wear a flag pin.

I also have to question about the idea of poor living in the outer ring wealthy in the centers and downtowns and with privatized highways and very little mass transit while the rich live in the cities they have an effective "wall" to keep out the poor. You just never know with these bastards. Beats building new Gated Subdivisions!


You've accurately described the wealth distribution in 3rd World cities, so you may be onto something.

Good point Super, if were gonna be (are???) a third world country, we oughta at least look like it. No sense in tryin ta fool anyone. :)


US cities/towns typically have an "internal third world" already, we're just carefully programmed to be blind to it. There's typically an area or areas, where the lower working class live, and they're getting around on cheap bicycles, waiting for the bus, or walking the few miles to whatever work they have that day. They'll live communally in cheap apartments, at and sometimes above the legal number of persons per room. This can be "mexicans", whites, blacks, asians, the Empire doesn't really care what race these invisible people are. The characteristic vehicle of this class is the bicycle, which is why those higher up on the class ladder take pains to not look like them, having more expensive bikes, specialized bike-riding clothing, etc.

This is probably why there's such institutionalized hatred of bicycle riders in the US though, because a bicyclist can move through most areas as quickly or more quickly than a car, they're nearly silent, can take all sorts of short-cuts, and can cover 100 miles in a day. It's the ultimate insurgent vehicle, the vehicle of the Enemies of Capitalism, inexpensive, easy to maintain and repair, healthy, etc. The bicycle even has the Viet Cong seal of approval, and was the vehicle Jacques Cousteau used to escape Vichy France. So, well, open your eyes and get a bike.

Also, let's don't forget the external third world, the large or even enormous residential (not tourist Jellystone) trailer parks squirreled away in the oddest places along town and county back roads.

Third world slums are typified by shacks made of plywood, carboard, sheets of metal, wire, twine, duct tape, etc. Our trailer parks look a lot better than that -- now. Ever seen a 40 or 50 year old trailer, though? Give it a few years, they'll eventually start taking on more and more of the classic 3rd world look.

Not only the third world, Europe too, although their version is milder; and coming to the USA as well. Consider the riot-prone cités (banlieues, i.e. suburbs) on the periphery of Paris (and other French cities.) The Paris Metro (RATP) may be wonderful, but it is mainly for the well-off who can afford to live in the city proper. The working stiffs live, more and more, on the periphery, where, for most, transit is the occasional and not overly reliable bus that may not take them where they need to go, except by a tedious and circuitous chain of transfers. No wonder Paris traffic is so awful despite the frightful cost of gazole and l'essence. Of course, a lucky few will live near an RER (suburban network) station, but that's only useful to the few amongst those few who work downtown.

Of course, having huge stretches of interstates perpetually down to single lanes because of repairs that go on and on and remain undone forever would be a great way to lower highway speeds de facto without having to take the political heat that goes with lowering speed limits.

"The thought comes to mind that if they rob the highway trust fund, then the road conditions will worsen at an even faster rate, and it will only accelerate us towards the end of the car era."

And then?

Taking the idea of gas tax cut or elimination a little farther, maybe even if only for the summer, people would see that deterioration, at least be reminded frequently of it by interest lobby commercials and stories of infrastructure collapse.

Which I think would galvanize adoption of a fuel tax specifically earmarked for roads and infrastructure, not back into the general fund.

Which begs the question...how much is the state and federal collections from fuel taxes presently, and how much is returned to roads?

As I understand it...there's a "lockbox" for fuel taxes. They used to go into the general fund, but now they are earmarked for transportation. Until 1982, 100% of the gas taxes collected went to highways. After that, a portion was split off for mass transit.

The gas tax yielded $28.2 billion in 2006, which is the most recent year for which stats are available. Almost all of that is likely going to highways. Mass transit gets about 15%. I think a tiny amount also goes for things like maintaining the SPR.

I should add...this isn't enough to maintain our highways, bridges, and mass transit systems. There's also transportation funding from the general revenue fund. States, counties, cities, etc., may also kick in some money.

A good portion (I think about $200m+ per year) goes to fund highway crossing protection (those gates that protect you and the trains from each other). It is like painting a ship - they replace the ones from 30 years ago with new ones all the time.

One less thing to worry about.....


I too think the upkeep of the roads will not be maintained.

I can see it now, A vehicle that looks like a cross between a Baja autocross racer and a electric golf cart type thing.

Rough roads, no problem. Back and forth to the villiage, No problem, Going great distances, That may be a problem.


Will gas OPEC have final say on pipeline plans?

I am sure it is just coincidence the additional carrier group the US just announced was heading to Iran falls on the same day as the meeting in Tehran.

Also could somebody explain some numbers for me.
10+ million barrels per day of crude oil imports.
+ 5+ MPD domestic crude oil production = 15+ MPD use?
Why is it oft repeated US uses over 20MPD? Where does the other 5MPD come from? Thank you

Nah. This is just the usual carrier rotation that happens a couple of times a year.

The USS Nimitz left its home port of Norfolk in early November last year, and is scheduled to be back in the US at the end of May. This means that it's going to leave the Persian Gulf, latest, next week. It's not unusual for there to be an overlap for a few days, but this is not, by any stretch of the imagination, the placement of an additional carrier in the area.

Unless it is associated with this:


It is official, Iran no longer sells oil in dollars.

The Iranians ditched the dollar in favour of the Euro and Yen last year - they haven't been selling anything in volume in dollars for months, this is just the fag-end of the process as pre-existing dollar-payment contracts expire.

Every six months or so there's a carrier rotation in the Gulf - I guess the Friedman unit really is the default unit of historical/current affairs memory for Americans!

It may be a 1+1 deployment. True, there are multiple battle groups in the Persian Gulf during change-outs; but, with the increasing tensions it could also be a saber rattling move.

And, it is worth looking up how much Americans really pay per gallon of gas due to this constant high level military presence in these regions. If it were up to bottom dollar thinking the Great Capitalists are so famous for, they would abandon all military misadventures and play on the market like the rest of us.

At the bottom of the referenced article did anyone notice the banner for the "Iranian Nuclear Crisis"? To quote the wise Supertramp, "Crisis, what crisis." More MSM fear mongering.

Too many illusions, too much B.S. I'm going to go kick the guy behind the curtain in the ass.

I ain't gonna let you kick him until I give you the shoe from the Russian agent in From Russia with Love. Remember, the one with the poison blade.


“A second U.S. carrier will significantly boost U.S. air power in the region and serve as a reminder of U.S. firepower to Iran. Its arrival will give the Pentagon two carriers in the region for the first time since 2003, Aandahl said.”

“Washington will keep two carriers in the Middle East "as long as the situation demands it," Aandahl said. A typical carrier deployment lasts six months.”

And a few months later, without any of the press, fanfare or photo-ops that attended the 2 carrier groups being in the Gulf at the same time as a warning to Iran, the number of carriers went back down to one.

I guess the situation wasn't really that demanding!

f3--Please read the item linked by Leanan just above.

Also could somebody explain some numbers for me.
10+ million barrels per day of crude oil imports.
+ 5+ MPD domestic crude oil production = 15+ MPD use?
Why is it oft repeated US uses over 20MPD? Where does the other 5MPD come from? Thank you.

f3, you are looking at Crude + Condensatewhen the larger figure is All Liquids.

US All Liquids production is about 8.5 mb/d.
While US All Liquids consumption is about 20.7 mb/d.

And you are only counting crude oil imports. The US consumption figures include crude imports plus gasoline imports, diesel imports, jet fuel imports, heating oil imports, propane imports, ethanol imports and just about any other type of imports you can think of.
I would like to see only crude + condensate counted but for some reason most people use the all liquids figure. This really screws things up but it is something we will just have to live with.

Ron Patterson

Add refinery gain (1,000 barrels of crude come in, 1,050 (?) barrels of oil products (gasoline, diesel, asphalt, etc.) come out) to further complicate accounting.


One thing that is interesting about US all liquids production is that the refinery gain (increase in volume) applies to both the crude oil we produce in the US and the crude oil we import. If our imports of crude oil go down, so does our refinery gain.

If everything were counted in BTUs, we wouldn't come out nearly as well. The five million barrels a day of crude and condensate we produce are "full BTU" products, but other things are not. It is hard to believe that refinery gain adds much of anything. Ethanol comes in at about 2/3 of gasoline, or 55% of crude oil (since gasoline is in the lighter part of the crude oil).

The balance is net refined product imports, refinery gain, and inventory change.

From the New York Times ...

Shortages Threaten Farmers’ Key Tool: Fertilizer


Bush claims the lack of refining capacity is a major cause for high prices at the pump. However, how would increased refining capacity alter the price of a barrel of oil? Isn't a 116 per barrel simply going to translate to a certain amount at the pump? That's like saying if we only had more machines to grind cocoa, the price of the commodity would go down. Huh?!

Thats what happens when you elect an alcoholic geriatric.

You mean an alcoholic, followed by a geriatric.

Any wonder why all his Texas oil companies failed? The Texas village idiot and physics don't seem to be on speaking terms.

Bush II and Bush I conversation:

"But Pa, why didin 't a come a shootin' owda da grownd like I saw 'n the p'ctures I'd dun saw 'n da skulehawse?'

"Here son, here's a baseball team. Maybe you can learn math by counting RBI's or something."

lack of refining capacity is a major cause for high prices at the pump

Gordon Brown our illustrious UK leader has said exactly the same thing - he clearly doesn't understand the simplest basics of economics or refining and has never actually checked to see if refineries are, in fact, fully utilised around the world.

To have such an economic novice in charge of the UK economy explains a good part of the economic mess we find ourselves in. To permit the export of dwindling stocks of North Sea oil a couple of years ago at $35 a barrel and then have to buy it back now at $110 is not the sign of a rational person IMO. Maybe the elections tomorrow will give him pause for thought ... but I doubt it.

Oh, Gordy Broon understands it alright. He is just wall-to-wall words. Saying what he thinks are the right , soothing things.

I expect demands for a windfall tax from evil Shell and evil BP to ramp up soon (as usual).

That will help deflect attention from the fact that 70% of the cost of a litre goes directly into the coffers of UKGov.

As for selling at 35 and buying at 110... Remember what he did to UK Gold reserves?

But yes, he is incompetent. I was hoping for better after the Bliar years.

Forlorn hope.

Apparently he bites his nails to the quick. That can fail you in an offshore medical...

After tomorrow, he may not make it to the next election.

We can at least console ourselves that such arrogant unemployable pricks as marginal seat Labour MPs will at least be catapulted into the real world in a couple of years.

Terrible waste really. A huge majority in Bliars first term. They could have pushed through anything.

Nationalistion of strategic industries such as power ,water, rail.

We could have told Bush to Foxtrot Oscar and really put our house in order.

Ah well. There is no fool like an old Empire, that still thinks its an Empire.

What were we supposed to become? Ahh yes, the British Greeks to the new US Rome.

We can at least console ourselves that such arrogant unemployable pricks as marginal seat Labour MPs will at least be catapulted into the real world

Yesterday I was at a House of Commons comittee meeting considering 'The Economic Impact of Peak Oil' - I was totally apalled at the lack of knowlege of the MPs present (except for the poor, desperate, chairman who seems to understand the situation as well as anybody) about how the real world works - IMO we are indeed totally doomed if we rely on these people to lead us! We in the UK appear to be well past 'Peak Leadership'.

We had an excellent presentation of well known Peak Oil historical facts by Dr Mamdouh Salameh http://www.appgopo.org.uk/index.php - however, I found it somewhat like reading posts here on TOD by people proposing perpetual motion systems as the solution to our problems. We got a list of provable true facts followed by 'La-La-land' of future expectations that we are supposed to believe because the past facts are true - the upshot is that the hydrogen economy is going to save us, thank goodness, nothing to worry about then, party on! Sigh!

The other speaker Andrew Simms said that the example of Cuba proved that we could survive peak oil (IMO it's much too soon to tell) - another example of why maybe we can't easily survive Peak Oil is North Korea (proposed by TOD Europe's Chris Vernon I think, and I agree, but again it's too soon to be sure!)

Hi xeroid,

Though probably too late to ask a q or two, I'm wondering...

re: "Yesterday I was at a House of Commons comittee meeting considering 'The Economic Impact of Peak Oil' -"

What is your approach to educating the MPs? (Or, have you given up.) i.e., what do you think might happen? (Or, I guess I should say - in best case, what could happen? And how might that happen?)

And the chairman! So, his position doesn't help because he's outnumbered?

Anyway, I'm curious to hear more - what your thoughts are for how the situation might be made better.

I'm also curious - what problems in the past have the MPs taken on and successfully addressed? (Any?) Any resembling - or even coming close to - "peak"?

Languishing in the old club chair fueled on scotch and past glories reminiscing about King and Queen no doubt! Twas the day the Empire was great and vast.

Can't linger on history though, eh Mudlogger? At least I get the mild pleasure of knowing a good chunk of London rests on my ancestral property. Don't think I'll get that back either.

Why automakers didn't resist the new CAFE requirements:


Wow! That's enough to make even a serious cynic snort! I guess engineers will be burning the midnight ethanol to figure out how to stretch the wheelbases of all their models. See, I just love to see all the wonderful ways that technology can be employed to assure our bright future.

From autoblog link. It seems that fuel economy standards are no longer fixed. Instead, the mileage depends on the footprint. The more big footprint cars, the lower the fuel mileage requirement that a manufacturer has to meet.

The footprint is defined as the wheelbase times the average of the track width or the area within the wheels. The larger the footprint, the lower the threshold that vehicle has to meet. Therefore for two cars of similar overall size but one with a longer wheelbase, the longer one would have a lower mileage requirement. Each automaker is then assigned an individual threshold to meet based on the sales weighted average footprint of the vehicles it sells. A company that sells more large footprint vehicles would have a lower hurdle to jump. One that sells predominantly smaller cars would have to get better mileage. As a result a company like Porsche or Ferrari who sell relatively small sports cars would have to meet a higher standard than Ford or General Motors who sell more large trucks. The entire premise of this rule is absurd. This rule will likely have the effect of giving manufacturers an incentive to maximize the wheelbase and track of new vehicles in order to minimize their CAFE requirement.

Good God, what a crock. This rule had to be custom designed by the automakers, there is no other explanation.

I wouldn't be surprised if a diesel Dodge Ram at 15mpg looks better under this rule than a smart car at 40mpg.

Dodge Ram 2500 Mega Cab Wheelbase x Track = 160.3 x 69.5 = 11140.85 square inches.

smart fortwo Wheelbase x Track = 73.5 x 50.5 = 3711.75 square inches.

15*11140.85 = 167,112.75 square inch miles per gallon.

40*3711.75 = 148,470 square inch miles per gallon.

Dodge Ram WINS!!!!!

Nice maths moabite !

but this CAFE thing ,what the heck ? It's the most serious crap I have ever heard. Harley Davidson seems to be a winner though - in a decade they can deduct "everything" ...

Start-up: Affordable solar power possible in a year


Executives of the year-old company say they'll start producing solar panels by mid-2009 that will generate electricity for about 7 cents a kilowatt hour, including installation. That's roughly the price of cheap coal-fired electricity. "We're bringing the cost of solar electricity down to be competitive with" fossil fuels, says Bob Block, a co-founder of SUNRGI.

I particularly like the tracking ability they are building in - that will mean that during the winter months you can get a much greater proportion of the energy that you get in the summer, so if you are using this for base-load you don't have to have such a massive over-build, although it really comes into it's own for peak power.
Distributed power like this would also negate Gail's concerns about grid overload, as this occurs when power needs are at peak, and this locally generated power would not even go near the grid.
You also save hugely on equipment to step the power down to a usable voltage.
I would combine this initially with Nanosolar's idea for municipal power in 2-10MW blocks - that way you avoid many of the costs of custom installation on people's roofs:
Nanosolar Blog » Municipal Solar Power Plants

Of course, none of this is a done deal, but since progress is happening on many different fronts for solar, it seems that peak power needs will be able to be met economically for many hot areas of the world in the same time-frame as we are going to need it, within the next few years.

If the market is willing to pay $5/watt, why would cell producers charge less? The profit margin will eat up the difference. I think it's as cheap as it will ever get.


Hi Bob,
Whilst the market does not magically call forth more oil, it does do a pretty good job where supply is not constrained by fundamental geological factors.
Sungri is not the only game in town, and capacities are being massively expanded.
The broad spread of companies and technologies is why it is possible to predict with some confidence that prices will fall substantially for solar.
Unlike oil, high prices will lead to more investment to expand capacity.

ONLY if that broad spread of companies has trouble selling their product and must price more competitively to get sales. This doesn't seem to be much of an issue, does it? Even with the meager current-day acceptance of a deep energy problem, the stockpiles of PV seem to be moving right out the doors. As awareness grows, as NG gets precious, just about any bump in the road at this point can do little but to reinforce an already healthy demand for this product.

Prices may fall if the economy truly tanks and noone can afford ANYthing.. but so far, I don't see that happening in the PV Supply/Demand situation.


Or one can have followed this issue for years:
Note that Midway was a maker and note how 'Energy innovations' was planning on the same thing after

But what's the point in attempting to explain to Da AntiDOOMer that history shows yet another one of his posted ideas has a history of fail.

But what's the point in attempting to explain to Da AntiDOOMer that history shows yet another one of his posted ideas has a history of fail(ure).(sic)

When asked direct questions or to prove a claim - you can't be bothered to respond.

But you go out of your way for a grammar flame? You Sir, are one of the special little people.

$5/Watt or 7 cents per kW-h? Are you kidding me, if it got any cheaper it would truly be a disruptive technology. I (as in the royal "I") can build power plants for $3/Watt, but we can't compete against 7 cents per kWh.

Here's the biggest benefit, the energy rate obviously is mostly amortized capital cost since the fuel is free. Its free until the government finds a way to tax it - don't laugh, we have water leases here in BC for hydro generation which is really a "gravity tax". If you were a project developer in today's market, you would take a guaranteed amortization over a lower initial capital cost with uncertain fuel costs any day. Hands down, no brainer.

What's the risk? The sun will stop shining? However, power density will still be a problem to some degree, so conservation measures will be required.

The power density, whilst still low, is several times better than other solar generating alternatives.
Great technology if it works!

And there are a host of other concentrating PV techs out there. My favorites are SolFocus, and CoolEarthSolar. We only need one of these outfits to hit a home run.

One way gasoline demand destruction in the US is postponed: Americans unload prized belongings to make ends meet

To meet higher gas, food and prescription drug bills, they are selling off grandmother's dishes and their own belongings. Some of the household purging has been extremely painful — families forced to part with heirlooms. ...

At Craigslist, ... the number of for-sale listings has soared 70 percent since last July.

... Among her most painful sales: her grandmother's teakettle. She sold it for $6 on eBay. ...

On Craigslist... three of the four fastest-growing for-sale categories are tied to gas — recreational vehicles like campers and trailers, cars and trucks, and boats. ...

Yikes. I can't say I wasn't expecting this, but still...yikes.

This was from back in March...


As the country teeters toward a full-blown recession, the rising gas prices and a ballooning value for gold have prompted more people than usual to sell their belongings or get loans from one of California's 600 state-licensed pawnshops.


Interlicchia never asks why a person might be pawning their belongings, but customers usually volunteer the back story.
"A lot of it's gas money," he said. " 'I need to put gas in my car to get to work.' "

I seems like I'm seeing more boats, ATVs, and other gasoline fueled toys for sale along the roads these days. They aren't moving either. I suspect it's more the need to get cash than the cost of fueling them at this point.

My father-in-law tells of growing up in Chicago's well-to-do suburb, Oak Park, where during the depression many people had lawn furniture on display in their yards while behind the front doors of their houses they had scarcely a stick of furniture. I wonder how much of this "keeping up appearances" is going on right now.

Unfortunately, this time around produce is shipped in cardboard boxes instead of those wonderfully useful wooden crates. More than a few houses were furnished in "fruit crate chic". (I still have one old crate, a prized possession now).

Exactly. In a way this need to keep up appearances is very detrimental. It's like how much bankruptcy is masquerading as wealth. We can't tell, but the anecdotal stuff gives a clue. Lots full of unused RV's, roads lined with for sale trucks, heirlooms on Ebay and the like. There is also evidence of cheaper eating habits.

Per Alan's figures it seems that even with all this 'stealth' demand destruction the raw totals are still not coming down much.
Together with the on the ground experience probably means that a considerable amount of belt tightening has already taken place on a per person basis ,such as dusting off the old scooter or Metro, but that overall it's not getting the job done.

I'm beginning to question my initial assumption that there was so much 'fat' in the US transportation kitty that the the first vanity gallons would come off easily and put us in better spot. Those cuts may already be occuring. Plainly not always where they will do any good. If mom's teapot is goin' for a gallon and a half of fuel that's a little more serious.

Like your father-in law's example it seems that Americans will still tend to hide their desperation within that sheetmetal shell for a long ways down the slope of insolvency. Perhaps it keeps them safe, or gives them a perceived distinction from those less well off, but we have been saying here for some time that most of us are well on the way to becoming Joe Sixpack but that that information is just not well distributed yet.

First the patient just has a nagging cold and ignores it til it passes. Then the cough begins to settle in deeper and he considers seeing the doc but trys some Hall's and so on. By the time the inevitable diagnosis comes in it's too late whereas if action (ELP) had been done sooner he might have lived. I hope that financial 'death from embarrassment' is not the norm and 'cheap is chic' rules the new day. (Thanks WT) There's only so much of the black stuff down there, now we have to get used to it.

Exactly. In a way this need to keep up appearances is very detrimental. It's like how much bankruptcy is masquerading as wealth....

I've said America is like Blanche DeBois (?) in Street Car Named Desire.

Keeping up appearances of her glory days. All a dream all an illusion of happyness.

"Depending on the kindness of Strangers"

Ever watch Cinderella Man? Good scene depicting similar circumstances.

A stamp dealer from North Carolina told me not long ago that he purchased several collections from sellers trying to raise money to pay for heating oil.

One of the changes I forecast with peak oil was an increase of recycling and reusing old products. I have mentioned that career opportunities might be available in this area. I hadn't really thought about it starting this soon, but if you think about it, it makes sense.

If useful products are recycled, both are winners. The buyer gets the used product cheaper. I am not sure about recycling stamp collections and the like.

"Collectables" are probably among the LEAST VALUABLE things to have and to try to unload to raise money if times are really hard. One exception that comes to mind might be old hand tools that are still in good working conditions.

I have been saying for a few years that the Flea Markets are going to be incredible. Anything you want will be for sale(deconstructed). People selling/Reselling everything.

Something like Orlov (?) said about Russia's markets.

On the 'deconstruction' yes incredible. Was at a very large neighborhood garage sale this weekend. I told a woman I had bought a nearly new vehicle for $10. only relieving her shock when I told her it was bicycle.

Welcome to the Bazaar.

After collapse, people will need hobbies / amusements / distractions to take their minds off their troubles. Stamp collecting in the U.S. got its biggest boost ever during the Depression; no one had the money to travel, but everybody could save stamps off incoming mail. There was also a neighborhood stamp dealer in most mid-to-large-sized towns -- not many are left nowadays, because commercial rents have soared. It also helped that FDR was an avid stamp collector, and used his prominence to promote the hobby.

And who knows what The Postman will accept?

(Sorry for the lurking, but I'm a sarcastic silly monkey).

Back then, a very large percentage of the population were either immigrants or children of immigrants. Still lots of mail going back and forth between the USA and the old countries, creating a good supply of interesting stamps. A fair number of missionaries from the churches, too. People could just trade around with their neighbors, nobody could afford to actually BUY anything. Stamps used to all be engraved back in those old days too, and were real works of art. Now they are mostly cheap crap.

Thats a shame.

Grannys Kettle probably doesnt need gas or electrictiy to boil - just a wood fire.

She may miss that more than the six bucks she got for it.

Re: Gasoline costs force service firms to raise prices (toplink) - compare that with the still-common claim that "the service economy" does not require energy... My favorite part in that article is the push for extreme localization:

Roth, for instance, limits her pet-sitting jobs these days. "If I get a call from the Westside now, I have to turn it down. It's just not cost effective for me," Roth said. She also ... started a direct marketing campaign to find more clients in the areas she still serves and uses doorknob-hanging ads that she distributes herself -- on foot.

Shell Oil president: To cut price, produce more gasoline in U.S.

U.S. should produce 2 million to 3 million more barrels a day, says John Hofmeister

Plenty of oil waiting to be drilled by unconventional means, he says

Shell's $7.8 billion profit not excessive, company president says

Executive says he can't predict how high price of oil will go


Hello TODers: I have created a simple Excel model of Countries and want to populate it with as-correct-as-possible data for the top 10 or so Producers and Consumers to investigate possible future scenarios -the sort of parameters I am hoping to find are:

Peak Year (or an estimate if in the future)
Decline Year (allows plataue production modelling)
Max Output (or an estimate if in the future)
Production Growth Rate % (during ramp-up)
Production Decline Rate % (or an estimate if Decline Year has not been met)
Demand Growth Rate (internal demand growth average)
Max Demand (an estimate of the limit to internal country demand -I will probably create a more complex model that makes this variable on price for future years but for now an estimate will do to stop exponential demand runaway, e.g USA=22mbpd...)

-Anyone know a good likely data source?

Regards, Nick.

Nick--You're duplicating the ASPO-Ireland (Once ASPO-International) country studies which are listed at the head its monthly newsletter, an index of which can be found here.

Wow. I can't even believe how much of a joke Fox News is.

Where's the Recession?

Despite housing, credit woes, GDP actually grew

Shrugging off doom-and-gloom predictions, U.S. economy manages to expand 0.6 percent in the first quarter

0.6?! This is bad even by fox news standards.

Not really. Thats for the quarter. Thats an annual rate of over 2 1/2%. Not a recession.

You're wrong here. The 0.6% is annualized. BEA says the economy grew--barely.

It's simple. All you have to do is lie about inflation (Shadowstats), and that automatically screws up the GNP figure. If inflation is 2% higher than reported, then the economy has actually shrunk 1.4%.

Brezhnev stats for a corporate Pravda.

It's worse than lying about inflation (which was 0.3%, I think, by government reckoning). If you buy a computer for $2000 that is 50% more powerful than the same computer the year before, they actually count that as $3000 of spending, so it acts as an artificial boost to GDP.

Even worse, they already discounted that faster computer on the inflation side such that paying $2000 for a $2000 computer is counted as deflation. They wind up double-dipping technology on both sides of the equation.

Still worse, they count many kinds of non-spending as spending. For example, if you own your home free and clear, they count as GDP an estimate of how much your rent would be if you didn't own your home.

Yet even worse, the only reason that the economy came in a +0.6% was because of a build in inventories. Unsold inventories are very, very bad. If you take out the inventory build, the growth was negative, and it will be that much more negative in future quarters because of the inventory build.

So, even with the government's "mark to makebelieve" accounting, this was a very bad GDP number.

And these are the same people that want to hold corporations accountable for their financial reporting??!!

This is more of White Collar Pollution (WCP). Some may call it disingenuous, but it falls under the category.

Don't worry if you haven't heard the term, I just coined it today. Its a knock on from Enron, subprime meltdown, etc.

But surely, all the distress sales of personal effects on Craigslist (up above) contribute to and thereby enhance GDP? :-)

Quite frankly I do not want to even give them a click.

victor - As I posted before, "recession" is a defined term, like "earth." Now, you might disagree with the definintion and have your own - which I guess is fine. And you may want to publish it and get everyone to adopt it. But for now, it is 2 consecutive quarters of NEGATIVE growth. And, of course, the numbers are not final for another year or so. But, at this point in time, you are not right (except for your personal definition, whatever that is).

"Negative growth" sounds like an oxymoron. How about two consecutive quarters of "economic contraction"? Or, recession could be given a nice rosy spin with this word selection: "Positive contraction." Yes, that'll do nicely!

Regardless of the "official" definition of recession, it is relevant to ask:

1) Who's doing the measuring (deriving the economic indicators)? (Contained within this question is who benefits/gains from a specific economic situation?)
2) How are these numbers arrived at?
3) What is the precision and accuracy of these numbers?
4) How do the numbers agree/disagree with other independently-obtained indicators of the economic situation?

None of these questions alter the standard definition of a recession. But they certainly may have a bearing on the accurate determination of whether-or-not a recession is actually occurring within the standard definition framework.


Wolf in YVR BC

My bet is that the numbers will be just barely >0 until just past the election. Then they will be revised downward, and -- GOODNESS SAKES! -- it will be discovered that we've been in a recession after all.

There was a time back when I was younger and less world-weary when I would have been outraged. Now I just laugh at it.

Given our debt/credit driven disaster of an economy requires exponetial growth to "sustain" itself I wonder what value above 0 GDP growth is actually required to be considered "healthy".

I guess I mean to ask that two consecutive quarters negative growth in GDP is the definition of a recession. So what! Not being in a recession doesn't mean things are rosey does it? Of course not.

And, like you say, after the adjustments come in and it turns out we really are/were in a recession - so what - that's ancient history. Except this time...it may be different...as in worse. Stay tuned.


After Bush I was defeated, the numbers were revised UPWARDS and the economy was growing nicely.


Although, according to the current numbers, we have a "per capita" recession in that growth for two quarters has been less than the rise in the U.S. population (.8 to .9% per year).

You might read Prof. Hamilton's latest:
before you go off the deep end...

Hello TODers,

[a few comments interspersed--BS]

Mosaic Chief Rides Wave of Profitability

Q. Is it a bubble?

[Condensed snippet-BS] A. This is demand-driven by an increase in consumption the world over. I think we've hit a tipping point because while we have very steady population growth, at the same time we're having strong world economic growth. The world's inventory is also dangerously low. We're emptying the cupboard.

Q. In addition to phosphate rock, you need ammonia and sulphur to make DAP. How have those costs increased?

A. The cost of ammonia, made from natural gas, has tripled over 10 years. Sulphur, a byproduct of oil refining, has gone from $55 a ton to $450 a ton in the past year. Ocean transport for fertilizer, from Tampa to India, used to cost $35 a ton. Now it's $100 a ton. [I would add that sulphur & sulphuric acid ocean transport cost has probably increased just as much; this further leverages future I-NPK input costs--BS]

The world price for DAP is set by Morocco, which is the Saudi Arabia of phosphate with a 300-year reserve. Last year, phosphate rock from Morocco was $55 a ton; today it's over $250 and for the second half of the year it's going to be $350 to $400. [Recall my earlier postings: P & K mines will eventually be the most valuable real-estate on the planet due to the double-whammy effect.--BS]

Q. How are world markets changing?

A. India is now our biggest customer, but the government caps the price of fertilizer to the farmer at $200 a ton and subsidizes the difference. This year, the Indian government will end up spending more on fertilizer subsidies than on its military. It's an impossible situation. [If I was India: they should start a full-press for O-NPK recycling with the military building SpiderWebRiding Networks--BS]

A non-optimal, fast-crash Malthusian decline for comparision:

N Korea headed for outright famine: US think-tank
Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello Leanan,

Thxs for the two toplinks on T. Boone Pickens' proposals.

My guess is that the rising need for Haber-Bosch natgas Nitrogen for I-NPK and natgas for heating, cooling, and cooking will prevent a huge number of CNG vehicles. Even LNG ocean transport may be jeopardized, as ocean-moving of I-NPK instead maybe more overall ERoEI effective by leveraging plant growth to allow continued job specialization and potential violence reduction:

Doha vows to boost fertiliser production

“The current food crisis is all the more reason why we must boost the fertiliser output,” al-Attiyah told Gulf Times on the sidelines of Qafco5 foundation stone laying at Mesaieed yesterday.

Regarding Pickens' Pipeline: IMO, all concerned parties would be better postPeak served if the landowners would ask that the pipeline be above ground wherever possible to form the future basis of a SpiderWebRiding Network. This will save oodles of construction time and costs [plus save future maintenance costs], incentivize the surrounding neighborhoods to railbike-use and protect the pipeline, and the landowners could collect a small steady income from a [water + electricity] transit-usage fee.

This continuing income stream to the directly impacted landowners is better than eminent domain proceedings or a single cash payment; again, fostering a low future discount mindset vs the usual high discount as explained by Nate Hagens. This income will also incentivize them to protect this infrastructure--just as a spider protects his own web.

To simply repeat the Iraqi & Nigeria pipeline economic models will insure that future desperate 'Murkans will attack and steal from this proposed pipeline.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Hello TODers,

I think all the automotive engineers losing their jobs would be hard-pressed to improve the lighweight transport design in the following linked Youtube video [the bamboo minitrain starts about 1:55 in]:


This is why I think a postPeak progression of narrow-gauge minitrains to eventual pedal-power railbikes holds such promise to act as the 'ribcage' to the 'spine & limbs' of Alan Drake's full-scale RR & TOD proposals.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Excellent find Bob! I too have been interested in how railways might be used post peak-with some becoming human-powered railways while certain trunk lines remain the province of powered trains. While doing research on railroad handcars, I found out that in Japan in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, quite a number of light tramways were constructed specifically to be handcar worked. This at Wikipedia:
(scroll down to Japan)
I also was previously only familiar with the typical "see-saw" operated handcar, but apparently there are other types - this video of one in operation at a museum in Russia:
I like the comment about the "2GP (girl power) locomotive."
The video you linked about the "Bamboo train" illustrates some important points about "low-power" use of a railway line - such as establishing right-of-way. If the vehicles travel slow enough and are light enough, one can simply be lifted off the track to allow another vehicle to pass.

Bamboo rail cars have been used (AFAIK) in the Philippines, Cambodia and Liberia.

Perhaps in the USA one day (but perhaps not with bamboo).


Perhaps in the USA one day (but perhaps not with bamboo).

Ours will be made of Pergo ripped up from abandoned McMansions.

Seriously, I hope we show that kind of ingenuity on the way down.

It is remarkable how simple the car is and the speed they travel with all the weight! It's amazing the mpg you get when you remove the cup holders.

But as incredible as this ingenuity is, do we really wish for N. American society to devolve to the extent where this is necessary? I think we would hit Mad Maxx long before we hit Bamboo Rail.

Yes, "An Inconvenient Truth" featured a computer-generated flyover shot of a vast ice field. Imagine how much carbon emissions and fossil fuel usage were saved by using that technique. And if the movie crew had actually organized an expedition of ships, planes and choppers to capture the shot on location, the Gore critics would be hopping up and down with indignation over the hypocrisy of it all.

And did you know his slide show is all light and shadows? And since it was filmed as a movie, it's even more illusionary! Imagine that! [/sarconal]

Yes the increase in worldwide CO2 levels has been faked from the get go. The scientists who study ice and sediment cores, have obviously been co-opted by the rich and powerful shadowy organization which is profiting from the climate crisis scare. Michael Crichton lays it all out in his thrilling "novel" State of Fear.

AGW is obviously a plot to allow Gore to use the energy saved by those who cut back to power his 11,000 Ft2 home and to ensure that he can jet all over the world hawking his books and movies. His tour to "raise awareness" is really only motivated by self-serving greed. Another climate change profiteer, James Hanson also stands to benefit greatly from a reduction in carbon emmissions. The true people who are looking out for the planet are the Michael Crichtons and Bjorn Lomborgs of the world who selfishly produce and sell books to bring the message that "business as usual" will work out fine.

/sarconol off

Indisputable facts as I see them:

1. Burning fossil fuels produces CO2.
2. CO2 is a 'greenhouse' gas which traps heat.
3. We will burn and have already burned an enormous amount of fossil fuels.

You know, I've been rather harsh on our nincompoop jbunt, but I think he's just a scared old retired CPA living in Florida. He probably has many offspring like any well-intentioned, life-long Republican would and is terrified for their wellbeing. I've met a few of the millions like him, and unfortunately the Truth does not set them free. Instead, the realization of their guilt for the current dilemma produces unpredictible behavior, of which lashing out at the Truth-tellers is one. He could also be experiencing his very own terrorism--Cancer--inflicted by himself. So, from now on whenever I see jbunt's name on a post, I will take pity, for that is what a good Christian like jbunt should do for a man like himself.

Jbunt is another in the long line of people asked direct questions and could not be bothered to answer.

Scared of their own shadow.

It is hard to answer direct questions if you see them a day or two later. Who will go back and look? But, with respect to the above, as I have posted, I am a retired CPA living in Oklahoma. Been married 42 years and no children. Therefore, with my Escalade and Jaguar and a 4000 sq ft house, I claim a much lower "Carbon Footprint" than 99% of my classmates who graduated high school in 1959. They average about 3 kids and 6 grandkids by now.

By the way, carbon dioxide is a very minor greenhouse gas compared to the others - like methane. And, if you believe that burning fossil fuels is the problem, it looks as if your problem will be solved as we have already used half of them.
And, do not disrespect other views so readily. There are some very smart scientists who totally disagree with AGW (sure, they all agree that humans are putting CO2 into the air). Many Russians are petrified of what some of them think is another cooling cycle on the horizon.

By the way, carbon dioxide is a very minor greenhouse gas compared to the others - like methane.

Factually incorrect, because the quantity of CO2 is so much more than CH4 in the atmosphere. On a per molecule basis CH4 would be a more effective greenhouse gas, but it is much more rare in the Earth's atmosphere. Also, since CH4 readily combines with oxygen it doesn't last so long in the atmosphere.

And, if you believe that burning fossil fuels is the problem, it looks as if your problem will be solved as we have already used half of them.

I've never seen any analysis to support that assertion. The PO claim (by many) is that roughly half of the conventional petroleum has been used to date, but there are large reserves of non-conventional "oil" left (e.g., tar), and lots of coal available.

There are some very smart scientists who totally disagree with AGW (sure, they all agree that humans are putting CO2 into the air). Many Russians are petrified of what some of them think is another cooling cycle on the horizon.

In case you care, every major scientific body (in the related areas) and professional body (in the related areas) have made statements about AGW, quite to the contrary to your belief. As for the Russians believing another "cool cycle" is coming... so what? There are people who still profess that the US Apollo missions did not actually land on the moon. There are no end of groups that believe this or that, but fortunately the development of the scientific method allows us to weed out the truth from false (even if it takes time.)

And, if you believe that burning fossil fuels is the problem, it looks as if your problem will be solved as we have already used half of them.

I've never seen any analysis to support that assertion. The PO claim (by many) is that roughly half of the conventional petroleum has been used to date, but there are large reserves of non-conventional "oil" left (e.g., tar), and lots of coal available.

There have been articles on this forum indicating that coal may also be peaking shortly, and exploring the possibility that there are insufficient reserves of fossil fuels to reach even the lowest of the CO2 rise scenarios painted by the IPCC:
The Oil Drum | Routledge

To what extent this takes into account unconventional resources, oil sands, deep-sea methane etc I don't know.

Dave, thanks for your reply. I had read your earlier work (to which you posted) and, while I appreciate the work you put into it, and also appreciate that your critique of the maximum hydrocarbon use scenarios (used for example in the IPCC AR4) may in all likelihood not be achievable is likely correct, still, "jbunt"'s claim is without merit.

Shome misstake shurely?

That ain't my work, but Dave Routledge's!

I am just pointing you to it as you said words to the effect that you were not aware of any studies indicating that hydrocarbons might not be sufficient to cause GW to the extent predicted.

It is hard to answer direct questions if you see them a day or two later.

Huh. I've not had that problem. A link like this:
seems to work just fine.

I claim a much lower "Carbon Footprint" than 99% of my classmates who graduated high school in 1959.

99%? So you had 100 other grads and none have died? Or more and opted to not count the dead?

Or, like so many self-identified Republicans you are just making stuff up to make yourself feel better?

They average about 3 kids and 6 grandkids by now.

Exactly how does this data back up your 99% claim?

(Oh and I'd love to hear you back up your claim "But, I would rather see Hilary or Obama President for 4 years so that everyone can see how nuts their ideas are." - go ahead. Explain EXACTLY how 'their ideas are nuts')

Eric - Okay, I am not nearly as computer savy as the vast majority on this site. I will claim my age and retiring in 1999, although I started with buying an Apple Lisa in 1994 - an $8,000 investmen at the time with printer, software, etc.

But, are you saying that if I post something and go back to the computer 2 days later, and paste in the link you gave me above (which I copied), if someone asked me a direct question it will take me to that post?

Can we have a little bit of literary license? Sure some of the classmates are gone, but I do not think that that is a carbon footprint plan. Nonetheless, if they passed away after they started their families, then just due to the numbers their footprint will be larger, because as obviously implied in my argument, I am aggregating their progeny into their footprint. It may not be fair, but I think that that is the way it happens. Saying 3 kids and 6 grandkids is obviously an educated WAG based upon statistics back at that time - and I have gone to all of the high school reunions.

Ideas that "I" think are nuts, obviousy does not make them nuts. But, I will give a few examples, but I am not going to try to nuance between the two candidates if you do not mind. 1. Doing away with NAFTA (I do not think that they can be re-negotiated since both sides would have to give). Access to Mexico's and Canada's excess energy (without being concerned about a bid from China) is my key reason for that belief. 2. Immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Sure it was a mistake to go their, and I have numerous friends who will vouch for the fact that I was totally opposed before we even sent the base troops to Kuwaitt. If you smoke in bed that is nuts. But, once you start the house on fire, some other action needs to be taken. Apparently, Syria tried to build a nuclear plant. So, I think that while withdrawal will have to happen, we should be planning for the Germany, Okinawa, South Korea type of solution: i.e., some sort of indefinite presence. (3) Import drugs from Canada. Economically, the drug companies are not doing well as it is (An investment in 1999 divided amoung the major US companies would, today, be worth about 33% of your investment. Legal costs and the cost of obtaining FDA approval easily average over $2 billion per drug. When they sell overseas, with contracts for consuming only in the recipient country, they only cover a small portion of these fixed costs. The rest is bourne by US citizens. A worldwide one price for all would be nice - but, then how do you get aids drugs to Africa. Any contribution to these fixed costs does reduce some of the US price, but I realize that is small comfort to someone paying more than a Canadian. I beleive that Canada, which is typical of 90% of all countries, has virtually no research drug companies - pretty much a few generics. 4. Universal health care to all is a noble goal [covering everyone regardless of prexisting condition, or cause of action (a brain dead attempted suicide comes to mind)], but without rationing, it will not work. So let them talk about setting up a rationing system. I believe that it would be unfair to society to ask them to pay for a heart transplant for a 90 year old man who had alzheimers for the past 20 years. 5. Being old fashioned, I believe that in most cases letting the market allocate scarce resources works best. So, to mandate that the oil companies fund (through confiscatory taxes) the research that Congress wants to fund for alternative energy I do not think is wise. I will let you make a stab at the number of Congressmen who are astute with respect to current energy policy - oil gas, nuclear, coal, etc. Now, what number to you think are astute enough allocate $billions to alternative projects that they think are worthy?

Well, that is enough for me at this time. And I readily admit that millions of people will agree with you that what I think is nuts, you-all believe is nuts.

But, I will give a few examples, but I am not going to try to nuance between the two candidates if you do not mind.

Nuance is not a skill of someone who plays the 'rah rah this party sucks but this other party doesn't'

Doing away with NAFTA

Republican Ron Paul doesn't like NAFTA..

Immediate withdrawal from Iraq.

Neither of the 2 leading Democrats have made this a plank of their platform. Ron Paul (A Republican) would use his power to pull the troops home. (Do feel free to post links backing up your claim however)

But why should a 'fiscally responsible Republican' support the borrow and spend Government that is going on?

Import drugs from Canada.

So you are anti-free trade - you don't support a policy of The Republican Party?

Universal health care

So both parties still want to take pubic (and private) money and transfer them into insurance companies. How is the end-point different - you are just complaining about the path to the same poor place. Not to mention all the government regs in healthcare to date - how do you make that match your desire "letting the market allocate"?


But considering your idea that the drug companies should have high profits - no wonder you missed the book mentioned in the URL.

Scoring on your worldview:
What you dubed nuts - Has Republican support, are not actual positions declared by OBama/Clinton, is contrary to the Republican platform and you mis-identify the problem.

And all of these errors just so you can feel good in your head that 'The Republicans are good, the Democrats are nuts'. Do consider growing up beyond seeing 'one side good other side bad' - like the situation is a football game where you can root for one team and boo the other team.

I have never said that I agree with everything that the Republican Party supports, nor everything that any single Republican does. We would not have NAFTA and Welfare reform without electing Bill Clinton - these are two things that I absolutely supported, but I voted for the Republican. The Republican Party corrupted itself as soon as it had both Congress and the Whitehouse - sending spending out of control. I strongly believe in the Estate tax after a generous exemption, say $4 -$5 million. If it goes away, in 100 years a few families will control all of the wealth and will probably want titles like Duke's or Count's. Bush and the Republicans are insane not to back increases in the minimum wage, which should be automatic to keep up with inflation. By the way, the giant corporations generally support the democrats more - I think it has its roots in the fact that most have to deal with unions. The Republican support is small business. But, I know Republicans who would "negotiate" a $1 an hour salary with a starving person and claim that they had made a fair bargain.

I am now in the position (in my mind) that a sane energy policy, which in my view involves more drilling, cannot be passed with a Republican president. Social Security and Medicare cannot be reformed with a Republican president. And there are other things. The problem being that, in my opinion, the democrats will never enter into a reasonable compromise with a Republican president on these issues. So, as I said, I may sit this election out.

I would need a verbal debate, point counterpoint, to further discuss the issue of the economics and accounting (fixed and variable costs), etc. in order to get into the drug issue. If you were saying that it is a free trade issue, I totally disagree. Just to make a minor point about the sanctity of contracts. How would you feel if you bought a quarter section of land and put a fast food restuarant on it. Then you sold off the portion that you did not need with a deed restriction that says the new owner and any successors can build anything they want, except a fast food restuarant. (This happens all the time with commercial property) Then they build a fast food restaurant right next to you. Well the drug companies have entered into contracts with the countries that they supply the drugs at favorable prices (generally it is a lower standard of living issue with the other country that gets the lower price, but nationalized health care also plays a role), but with a contractual provision that the drugs can only be sold to that country's citizens. And, if you think that drug companies have high profits, please buy their stock. Over the last 9 years, as a group, probably only US auto companies and airlines have done worse.

I have never said that I agree with everything that the Republican Party supports, nor everything that any single Republican does.

But your posting history is full of 'teh demo-rats suxxors' style of 'rah rah - Republicans Rule! All others drool'.

My point in responding is to bring that to your attention - if you act on this observation, fine. If not - perhaps you'll find happiness on little green footballs or Free republic where mindless support of party is acceptable.

We would not have NAFTA and Welfare reform without electing Bill Clinton

The three-nation NAFTA was signed on 17 December 1992, pending its ratification by the legislatures of the three countries.

Looks to *ME* like NAFTA would have been signed by Bush the Greater. What with the 1992/12/17 date.

I am now in the position (in my mind) that a sane energy policy, which in my view involves more drilling,

So a continuation of the bad idea of keep burning old stored sunlight VS moving to other ways. Ways started under Carter and gutted by Reagan.

Social Security and Medicare cannot be reformed with a Republican president. And there are other things./.....I may sit this election out.

It strikes me that you are noticing the trend here. The trend of how BOTH parties are working to keep the system broken VS 'teh evil demo-rats are bad and that's why things are broken'. I'll point out that Bush HAD a Republican House and Senate. So if 'the Republicans' where about 'keeping their adjenda', why didn't they man up and keep it? (Answer: BEcause for every fault you find in the Democratic party members the same faults exist in the Republican party members. Only a question of how much and what twist is put on the spin.)

Instead of sitting the election out - consider working with a 3rd party. Or perhaps any of the number of groups like 'read the bills' http://www.downsizedc.org/read_the_laws.shtml (I mention read the bills as this one is hard not to support. Congress has to actually read and understand what they are voting on - that way Micheal Moore doesn't have laughing congress-kritters saying 'we don't read these bills' on film. If I knew of another group that should have bi-partisan support I'd have mentioned them.)

I would need a verbal debate, point counterpoint, to further discuss the issue of the economics and accounting (fixed and variable costs), etc. in order to get into the drug issue.

Really, this is not the forum for the drug issue.
Nor does your version of 'what is wrong' address the for profit health care system.

Well the drug companies have entered into contracts with the countries that they supply the drugs at favorable prices

Have you SEEN copies of these contracts, or is this what you are being told? Ya know - you could be being lied to.

But lets examine some news of the 'now' about US Drugs:

most pharmaceuticals purchased in the United States are manufactured outside the U.S.; many from China or Puerto Rico. So they're not even made in the U.S. anyway, and drug companies are simply importing them from other countries just like a consumer might do if she drove across the border and bought her medications in Canada or Mexico.

Strikes me that US drug prices are high priced because they can be. Charge what the market will support.

And, if you think that drug companies have high profits, please buy their stock.

Ya see - here is another difference - a belief that the stock market is somehow not a rigged game.

He could also be experiencing his very own terrorism--Cancer--inflicted by himself.

Not perhaps the best way to make your point.
Many on this forum will have lost loved ones to cancer, and should the individual who you are taking to task also happen to suffer from that, or perhaps one of his family, your comment would be deeply distasteful.

I've been trying to come up with the words... but I can't get past this insane us vs. them, oligarchy, two party pajama party mentality you Americans have. So what if the ice bergs were propped, did they depict the real thing - probably.

Are they guilty of stage producing some special effects? Yes, but where is the truth. Does climate change cease to exist because political dogma decrees it? This is why I had to get out of that country. It was quite evident to me money and brains are mutually exclusive.

If the AGW deniers are hinging their argument on visual evidence, ever see some of the suppressed pictures of the WTC post collapse. Then you will know the real meaning of farce.

Federal Interest Rates drop to 2%


Angry motorists may get revenge by buying small cars or moving to within walking distances of employment. The desire for speed on the open road was being felt around the world, especially by those half an hour behind schedule. All the nations were competing to buy precious gasoline/diesel. The have nots had to walk.

President Carter gave a speech after rising gasoline prices in 1979.


Little has been done since then towards ending our dependence on foreign oil.

The great filter - for TODians - Peak Energy.


Now, just where might this Great Filter be located? There are two possibilities: It might be behind us, somewhere in our distant past. Or it might be ahead of us, somewhere in the decades, centuries, or millennia to come

The Great Filter may turn out to be the interstellar medium. There is evidence to show that our radio signals don't survive nearly as far as we've been led to believe from science fiction, and that the same applies to any other civilization out there.

(And our signals are degrading severely now that we're going all digital.)

So no easy radio communication. Which means we won't detect colonization easily either.

Rockefellers call for change at Exxon Mobil

Fifteen descendants of the oil baron are involved in four shareholder resolutions seeking changes at Exxon, including dividing the CEO and chairmanship positions.

They also seek to establish a task force study of the consequences of global warning on poor economies, called on Exxon to reduce greenhouse gas emission at its own operations and adopt a renewable energy policy.

Exxon is "profiting in the short term from investments and decisions made many years ago by focusing on the narrow path that ignores the rapidly shifting energy landscape around the world, including developing nations," said Neva Rockefeller Goodwin, great granddaughter of John D. Rockefeller


I guess you could call this news. That sort of puts a point on it.

The voice has NOW come down from on high. Watch carefully how this news moves thru the MSM and into policies. Is THAT the two minute warning? End Of Game? Why now, why in such a public way? They could have done it behind the scenes. They have the phone numbers of all those execs. Half of them probably have been "Over to the house for coffee" many times. Or last saturday when we played golf. Or while they were playing golf , David says, "Ok Here what we're gonna do. I'll have this news announcement, You act surprised, You resist, You go along. Now then,...."

Does anyone know how much of Exxon is owned by the Rockefeller family? The story is also covered by Slate, and from their coverage, I get the impression that the Rockefellers are not in the majority and, like any family, not unanimous on this resolution.

I can understand Tillerson not wanting get Exxon involved in renewables. They are an oil and gas company, and should focus on doing their job profitably. If their shareholders want to invest the dividends in something else, fine. I see little overlap between drilling and building solar panels.

More likely, the situation is just what it seems. The family are hoping to leverage as much other-peoples-money as possible to fund renewables, and I can undestand that too.

Sometimes the progeny of "robber barons" have a different perspective on things. As with Robert Kennedy's offspring, they CAN have a more altruistic view. Of course this isn't always the case...they can also behave as spoiled brats. But one can always hope.

For those interested there's quite a few stories today on:


As always, if people have thoughts to share about the stories or can provide additional insights about their part of the world please feel free to post a comment or provide some links.

Yikes. That's the most articles referenced that I've ever seen on that site.